The European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”), adopted on 18 June 2021 its final recommendations describing how controllers and processors transferring personal data outside the European Economic Area (“EEA”) may comply with the Schrems II ruling (“Final Schrems II Recommendations”). The Final Schrems II Recommendations, together with the new Standard Contractual Clauses (“SCCs”) adopted by the European Commission on 4 June 2021, will now allow organizations to proceed with addressing international data transfers following the landmark Schrems II ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union in July 2020.
The Final Schrems II Recommendations have maintained the requirement to carry out a 6 Step assessment prior to transferring personal data outside the EEA in reliance on a data transfer tool, such as SCCs. However, there have been some important amendments from the draft recommendations published in November 2020 in order to:
- better align with the new SCCs recently adopted by the European Commission; and
- allow more flexibility in carrying out the assessment of third country laws in Step 3 by being able to take into account practice in the third country as well as the documented practical experience of the data importer.
Our previous blog post on the draft EDPB’s Schrems II recommendations – accessible here – provides further details on the 6 Step process that organizations should follow when transferring personal data from the EEA to a third country such as the U.S. Here we summarise some of the key differences in the 6 Steps as between the draft recommendations and the Final Schrems II Recommendations.
The European Commission has formally launched its legislative initiative aimed at increasing access to and further use of data, so that more public and private actors can benefit from technologies such as Big Data and machine learning. The Commission has published its inception impact assessment on the forthcoming Data Act, on which interested stakeholders can submit comments until 25 June 2021. In parallel, the Commission has launched a public consultation for the legislative initiative, to be conducted by an online questionnaire, with a deadline of 3 September 2021. Feedback will be taken into account for further development and fine tuning of the initiative to be tabled in Q3-Q4 2021.
On June 2, 2021, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed SB260, a bill that will amend the state’s existing privacy notice legislation, NRS 603A.300 to .360 (“Existing NV Privacy Law”). SB260 amends the Existing NV Privacy Law by exempting certain persons and information collected about a consumer from the law’s privacy requirements, expanding the types of entities that must facilitate consumer privacy opt-out rights, providing new and updated definitions, authorizing the opportunity to remedy a failure to comply with certain requirements, and updating other provisions to reflect the addition of data broker entities. Most notably, SB260’s addition of “data broker” to the existing statutory framework, in addition to the updated definition of “sale”, provides consumers with a broader opt-out right and likely brings more entities under the scope of the law. That said, even after the amendments, the Nevada law remains narrower than the California Consumer Protection Act (“CCPA”), as well as the forthcoming California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) and Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (“VCDPA”) that go into effect on January 1, 2023.
Last year, to address the increasing overlaps between data protection and antitrust enforcement, the UK launched the Digital Regulatory Cooperation Forum (DRCF). The DRCF brings together the four UK regulators most involved in digital matters (i.e., the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the Office of Communications (Ofcom) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)). Its main objective is to enable coherent and informed regulation of the UK digital economy.
On April 2, 2021 the French Data Protection Authority (the “Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés” or “CNIL”) published its intent to start auditing websites for compliance with cookie regulations. This publication comes following a large number of developments and actions taken by the CNIL to further improve and guide organizations through cookie compliance. The CNIL had issued several recommendations, guidelines and cookie tools to raise awareness on the importance of this topic, with a final set of guidelines published on October 1, 2020 following public consultation rounds (“Cookie Guidelines”). The CNIL had determined that a 6-month grace period would apply following publication of the Cookie Guidelines. This grace period ended on April 1, 2021 and the CNIL now expects companies to be compliant with its recommendations and guidelines. The CNIL has confirmed that it may make use of the totality of its corrective powers to remedy non-compliance with the rules, including issuing (public) sanctions. In light of the increase in scrutiny on cookies in the EU (and the US pursuant to certain state laws), organizations with websites / platforms operating in the EU (and U.S.) may want to reconsider their cookie practices and start carrying out cookie audits.
On February 10, 2021, the Council of the European Union (which includes representatives of the European Union (EU) member states, hereinafter Council) reached an agreement on the ePrivacy Regulation proposal that governs the protection of privacy and confidentiality of electronic communications services (ePrivacy Regulation).
The first draft of the ePrivacy Regulation was approved by the European Commission in 2017 and has since been under discussion in the Council. The current agreement in the Council comes shortly after Portugal took over the Council presidency (on January 1, 2021) and released a revised draft of the ePrivacy Regulation (on January 5), which was the 14th draft including the original EU Commission proposal. The present agreement is therefore a breakthrough in the negotiation process and allows the Portuguese Council presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament on the final text.
For over two and a half years, California has enjoyed the spotlight of having the most comprehensive data privacy law in the United States. On March 2, 2021, Virginia forced California to share the honors, when Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam signed into law the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA).
The VCDPA, which will not enter into effect until January 1, 2023, borrows heavily from the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Perhaps because Virginia was able to benefit from the experience of businesses that have spent the better part of the last five years implementing the GDPR or the CCPA, the Virginia law is less prescriptive and more straightforward than its predecessors, with (one would hope) a correspondingly lighter implementation burden on companies. Nonetheless, there is just enough different in the VCDPA that businesses with a connection to Virginia will need to evaluate whether the law applies to them and how they will comply.
While an exegesis of the VCDPA is beyond the scope of today’s Data Matters post, this alert is designed to assist such efforts in three ways. First, we lay out the VCDPA’s scope, providing preliminary insight into which businesses the law will cover. Second, we highlight the key ways the VCDPA differs from — and, more important, extends beyond — the CCPA and GDPR so that businesses will have an initial sense of what, if any, unique obligations the VCDPA will place on them. Finally, for completeness’s sake, the post briefly summarizes the law’s key elements.
On December 15, the European Commission (Commission) proposed drafts of two landmark digital legislative packages — the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which proposes new competition rules for so-called “gatekeeper” platforms to address alleged unfair practices and make them more contestable by competitors, and the Digital Services Act (DSA), which recommends revamping content moderation rules for “very large online platforms.”
The new rules, if they pass into law in their current form, would impose a stringent regulatory regime on Big Tech and give the Commission new enforcement powers. The draft regulations foresee severe fines for noncompliance — up to 10% of a company’s global revenues under the DMA and up to 6% under the DSA. The Commission would also be able to impose structural remedies, such as obliging a gatekeeper to sell all or part of a business, on companies that repeatedly engage in anticompetitive behavior prohibited by the DMA.
The proposals mark the beginning of a legislative process that is likely to be controversial and hotly contested, as there are marked differences of opinion on whether these proposals go too far, do not go far enough, or are necessary at all in light of preexisting competition powers.
On December 10, 2020, the California Attorney General (“AG”) proposed additional edits to the CCPA Regulations. These changes both build upon the updates that were proposed on October 12, 2020, and add some new content. All of the newly proposed changes relate to the right to opt-out of the sale of personal information. For a summary of all changes proposed on October 12, 2020, please see our post here.