The Personal Data Protection Act, 2012 (PDPA), Singapore’s general data protection law, governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal data. The Singapore Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC), which enforces the PDPA, recently updated the chapter on data anonymization found in its Advisory Guidelines (Guidelines). The Guidelines are not legally binding but provide guidance on how the PDPC will interpret the PDPA. The revisions encourage organizations to incorporate into the process of anonymizing data an inquiry into the risks that the data may be re-identified and any potential negative effect on the individuals involved rather than focusing purely on the various techniques to anonymize the data.
On 6th April, 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution stating that there are deficiencies in the EU-US data transfer accord Privacy Shield which must be “urgently resolved” in order to give citizens and companies legal certainty. MEPs called on the EU Commission to conduct an assessment and to ensure that the Privacy Shield complies sufficiently with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and new EU data protection rules. (more…)
On April 3, 2017, President Trump signed the bill repealing the Federal Communications Commission’s much-debated broadband privacy rules. The House of Representatives voted 215–205 to disapprove the rules, after a party-line Senate vote of 50–48. The result is that the FCC’s key rules governing internet service providers’ collection and use of consumer data, as well as data security, will not go into effect as scheduled. Moreover, the FCC will be precluded from promulgating any regulation in “substantially the same” form until a future Congress allows such action.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has created a new task force to monitor technology, data collection and Cybersecurity developments in the insurance industry. The Innovation and Technology (EX) Task Force (IT Task Force) was formed on March 9, 2017 and reports directly to the NAIC’s Executive Committee. The IT Task Force will appoint and oversee the work of the following NAIC groups: the Big Data Working Group, the Cybersecurity Working Group and the Speed-to-Market Working Group. According to the NAIC’s March 9, 2017 press release, the IT Task Force’s purpose is to help insurance regulators stay informed about technology-related developments, products and services in the insurance industry, including start-up companies, and to ensure they meet consumer expectations and ensure consumer protections. The press release notes that annual investment in insurance technology (InsurTech) has increased to more than $2.5 Billion and continues to grow.
The decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (the CJEU) on Oct. 6, 2015, invalidating the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Decision (the Judgment) is a landmark judgment. Case C-362/14 Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner  ECLI: EU:C:2015:650. By voiding the legal basis for transatlantic data transfers for the 4,400 companies reliant on U.S.-EU Safe Harbor, the Judgment began what has been a seismic year for data protection and crossborder data transfers in the European Union, whose aftershocks will reverberate throughout 2017 and beyond.
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 December 28, 2016, former President Obama issued Executive Order 13757, Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities (E.O. 13757). E.O. 13757 amends an earlier Executive Order 13694 (E.O. 13694) of April 1, 2015, under which the President declared a “national emergency” to deal with the “unusual and extraordinary threat” to U.S. national security, foreign policy and the economy posed by malicious cyber-enabled activities conducted by persons outside the United States in relation to the November 2016 election. Through the December 2016 amendment, President Obama took “additional steps” to deal with such malicious cyber activities in view of their increasing use “to undermine democratic processes or institutions.”
*This post first appeared in Lawfare on January 17, 2017.
As the new administration takes office this week, we will start to see just how literally to take Donald Trump’s pronouncements and the promised targeting of his predecessor’s executive orders for immediate destruction. Trade policy appointments signal that statements about being aggressive against barriers to trade should be taken very literally. Wilbur Ross, the prospective Commerce Secretary; Peter Navarro, tapped to lead a new Trade Council on the White House staff; and Robert Lighthizer, designated U.S. Trade Representative, all have been vociferous in calling out China’s mercantilist policies and advocating a more transactional approach to breaking down market barriers in the world’s second largest national economy.
On 11 April 2016, the European Commission consulted on Directive 2002/58/EC on privacy and electronic communications (the “ePrivacy Directive”), seeking input from a wide range of businesses, organizations and individuals on the effectiveness of the ePrivacy Directive and their views for its revision. The European Commission’s review is a key element of its Digital Single Market Strategy, which aims to reinforce trust and security in digital services in the EU.
The European Commission released the results of this consultation on 19 December 2016. The consultation received 421 replies from stakeholders in all Member States and outside the EU, which included 162 replies from citizens; 186 contributions from industry actors; 40 public authorities, including competent authorities which enforce the ePrivacy Directive at national level; 33 contributions from civil society associations. The largest number of respondents came from Germany (25.9%), UK (14.3%), Belgium (10%) and France (7.1%).
The third edition of The Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity Law Review appears as the world is converging on more privacy laws that cover more areas of business and are subject to more enforcement. Several Sidley lawyers in the Privacy, Data Security and Information Law practice have contributed to this publication.