This article first appeared on Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence.
The summer of 2018 may be regarded as a pivotal time in the history of data privacy laws. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was signed into law in June 2018 (and comes into effect on January 1, 2020), and a draft of India’s Personal Data Protection Bill (India DP Bill) was released in July 2018 (and is now under review by India’s government).
These developments, and more generally, the recent proliferation of data privacy laws around the world (notably, in Australia, China, Brazil, Hong Kong, and Singapore) represent a compliance challenge for many multinational organizations.
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has recently issued a draft version of its statutory code of practice for sharing of personal data between controllers under the GDPR and the UK Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA”) (the “Draft Code”) which provides a number of practical recommendations which controllers should take into account when sharing personal data.
The High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (“AI HLEG”), an independent expert group set up by the European Commission in June 2018 as part of its AI strategy, has published its final Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) (the “Guidelines”).
These Guidelines form part of a wider focus by the Commission on AI, with President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen commenting most recently on July 16, in her proposed political guidelines, that: “In my first 100 days in office, I will put forward legislation for a coordinated European approach on the human and ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence…”.
Just a day after the ICO provided notice of its intention to fine British Airways £183m ($228m) over a separate breach (please see our blog post here), on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the ICO released another statement of its intention to fine Marriott International, Inc. (“Marriott”) over £99m ($123m) in relation to a security incident affecting the Starwood reservation database which Marriott had acquired in 2016 and discovered in November 2018. The statement came in response to Marriott’s filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that the ICO intended to fine it for breaches of the GDPR.
On 3 July 2019, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) published new guidance on cookies and similar technologies (“Guidance”) in conjunction with a new blog post: “Cookies – what does ‘good’ look like?” which aims to provide “myth-busting” advice on common cookies uncertainties. You can find a full copy of the new guidance here and a link to the ICO’s blog post here. With its new Guidance, the ICO has formally recognised the stricter standards of consent and transparency now in force under the GDPR.
The Chinese government is proposing heightened requirements on cross-border transfers of personal information from China, recently publishing draft Measures on Security Assessment of Cross-border Transfer of Personal Information (the “Draft Measures”). This comes less than a month after the Chinese government issued another draft Measures for Data Security Management which require network operators to conduct a security assessment for any transfer of important data (i.e. any data that may directly affect China’s national security, economic security, social stability, or public health and security if leaked) to overseas. The Draft Measures now focus on the cross-border transfer of personal information by network operators and are viewed as a continuous effect of the Chinese government to strengthen the data protection in China.
Today we saw the ICO issue a notice of its intention to fine British Airways £183.39m for infringements of the GDPR – a record fine and the largest seen in the UK and the EU. The proposed fine relates to a cyber incident which BA notified to the ICO (as BA’s lead data protection authority, DPA) in September 2018. The incident involved the theft from the BA website and mobile app of personal data relating to customers over a two-week period. In terms of next steps, BA now has an opportunity to make representations to the ICO as to the proposed findings and sanction.
The 25th of May, 2019 marked a year since the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) came into force. For most in privacy, involvement with the GDPR has been ongoing for well over this year, but on the first anniversary of the GDPR we take an opportunity to look back and reflect on where we are now in relation to some key areas of interest including enforcement action, privacy litigation, breach notification and developing guidance from the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”).
Recently, the Dutch Supervisory Authority (the “Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens” or “Dutch SA”) has taken the position that the use of so-called “cookie walls,” whereby website access is made conditional upon the provision of consent to tracking cookies, is not compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).
We held our 5th Annual Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable on May 1, in Washington, D.C. The event featured the Chair of the European Data Protection Board Andrea Jelinek and FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips. Other government speakers represented the White House, UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, and staff members from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Other distinguished panelists included Cam Kerry of Brookings and Jane Horvath from Apple. The speakers addressed privacy and cybersecurity enforcement in the U.S. and EU, Brexit, Online Harms and the prospects for federal privacy legislation. The insightful program was followed by a competition between the sausage-making (and brewing) achievements of leading privacy jurisdictions such as Brussels, California, Washington, D.C. and China (representing a privacy continuum!). Sidley also commemorated “20 Years of CyberLaw at Sidley” – two decades since the founding of today’s Privacy and Cybersecurity practice. We look forward to continuing to thrive and serve our clients. We hope to see you at next year’s Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable.