2016 was a year of seismic changes in the global data protection and privacy landscape. Here, we look back at the top ten events and issues that shaped 2016, and are poised to shape the year ahead as well.
Year In Review
1. GDPR Adoption
On April 14, the European Parliament voted to adopt the long-awaited EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), formally completing adoption of the GDPR. The GDPR was published in the Official Journal of the EU on May 25, 2016, giving companies and Member States until the May 25, 2018 effective date to implement the Regulation fully. In the wake of its adoption, businesses should have planning under way for implementation of the significantly expanded Regulation by evaluating whether they are subject to the expanded jurisdiction, and if so, completing an internal gap analysis of current data protection practices as compared with the new requirements and rights under the Regulation. Some of the key aspects to consider include data breach response planning under the new 72-hour notice requirement, reviewing existing data protection notices and consents for the more robust obligations, identifying current profiling activities and existing data protection and retention policies and procedures, ensuring privacy impact assessments are carried out where required, and evaluating whether there is an obligation to appoint a data protection officer. Despite the time until the effective date, the extensive preparation necessary to comply presents a challenge as companies around the world refocus resources to develop compliance plans.
2. Political Cyber Warfare
There is a new front in geopolitical battles. (more…)
On 15 December 2016 the Article 29 Working Party (“WP29”) released draft guidelines and FAQs on key provisions in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). The guidelines cover the right to data portability, data protection officers and the lead supervisory authority. The WP29 has invited comments from stakeholders on the draft guidelines and FAQs. The deadline for comments is January 31, 2017. Although this invitation for comment is directed at the new guidance, some members of the WP29 have expressed interest in comments on additional issues for the WP29 2017 work plan, for which guidance has not been issued.
The Bavarian State Commissioner for Data Protection (“BayLDA“) announced on October 20, 2016, that it had fined a company for appointing an IT manager as its data protection officer (“DPO“). Germany’s strict data protection laws mean that appointing a DPO has long been a requirement for some companies in Germany, whereas in most other EU Member States there will be no such requirement until the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) takes effect.
The UK’s Secretary of State confirmed on October 31, 2016 that the UK will be implementing the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as the UK will still be a member of the EU when the GDPR comes into effect on 25 May 2018.
The UK’s Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham showed her support for this by issuing a statement describing the confirmed implementation as “good news.” Commissioner Denham further advised that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is committed to assisting businesses to prepare to meet these new requirements and that a revised timeline setting out which areas of GDPR guidance the ICO will be prioritizing will be published in November. In closing, Commissioner Denham stressed that although, “there may still be questions about how the GDPR would work on the UK leaving the EU […] this should not distract from the important task of compliance with GDPR by 2018.”
The EU Data Protection Directive requires that data be processed fairly, which includes providing individuals with certain information about how a business uses their data, for example, by way of a privacy notice. These information requirements will be enhanced under the new EU Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR“), which will require many companies to review and amend their employee and customer notices, consents and policies (including privacy notices).
After almost four years of negotiations, drafting and discussions, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force earlier this year. Businesses, including insurance companies, now have until May 25, 2018 to meet the new requirements under the GDPR. The GDPR aims to harmonize data protection legislation across the European Economic Area (EEA), making compliance for (re)insurance companies that operate in multiple EEA jurisdictions easier. However, in order to achieve this, the GDPR introduces a number of new requirements that will have a significant, and sometimes onerous, impact on (re)insurance companies. The GDPR is also likely to still be relevant to (re)insurance companies based in the UK despite Brexit, as the GDPR will become law in May 2018, which may be before the UK withdraws from the European Union, and even after withdrawal, the GDPR will continue to apply to UK companies that process data on EEA residents. Some of the key provisions of the GDPR that are of particular relevance for the insurance and reinsurance industry are summarized below.
The final text of the much anticipated EU-US Privacy Shield has been sent by the European Commission for review and approval to the Article 31 Committee, which includes representatives from all 28 Member States. Approval by the Article 31 Committee will pave the way for a final decision by the Commission adopting the Privacy Shield, expected on 11 July, 2016. If approved, the Privacy Shield will take effect as soon as the US Department of Commerce establishes a new process for US companies that wish to use the Privacy Shield as a legal basis for data transfers of personal data from the EU to certify in accordance with the new framework. Businesses should examine the final Privacy Shield documents and requirements and determine whether to proceed with certification once the Privacy Shield is approved.
Developments on the European data protection front continue at a fast pace. As the process of implementation of the now-final General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) begins, the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) is announcing a workshop on implementation questions in Brussels in July. Meanwhile, uncertainty continues for trans-Atlantic data transfers as both the European Parliament and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) weigh in with views for negotiators on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, and the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC) announces the intention to initiate proceedings in the Irish High Court that may put before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) the validity of EU standard contractual clauses (or model contracts). (more…)
Senior legal, economic and privacy leadership from U.S. and European government joined Sidley partners and senior counsel as panel participants at the 2nd Annual Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable. An audience of more than 70 privacy professionals across financial, healthcare and technology industries heard from three panels that focused on the latest developments and prospective issues in cybersecurity, big data and EU privacy.
On Thursday, April 14, 2016, the European Parliament voted to adopt the long-awaited EU General Data Protection Regulation (the GDPR). During the plenary session Jan Philipp Albrecht, rapporteur of the European Parliament for the GDPR, welcomed the adoption following what he described as years of “democratic debate and legislative process.” Albrecht further described the adoption as “a huge step forward towards creating a single legal environment for the digital world of tomorrow.” Today’s parliamentary vote completes the legislative process for adoption of the GDPR. The final step will be for the GDPR to be published in the Official Journal of the EU which will likely take place in May 2016. Companies and regulators will then have two years from the date of publication in which to implement the requirements under the GDPR. Businesses should now seriously consider the impact of the GDPR and start planning for implementation.