Privacy Law Blog

Category Archives: European Union

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EU Court Rules that Dynamic IP Addresses are Personal Data…Sometimes

On October 19, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that dynamic IP addresses may qualify as “personal data” under EU privacy law. As we covered here on the blog a few months ago, this decision is significant because it clarifies that companies that collect, store, process, and/or transfer dynamic IP addresses … Continue Reading

TalkTalk handed record fine in data protection breach in the UK

TalkTalk, a major UK telecoms company, has been fined £400,000 for a data breach after they were hacked. This is a record fine given by the ICO (the UK’s data protection authority).  Significantly the fine was imposed after a change of leadership this summer when Elizabeth Denham (previously the Information Commissioner in the Canadian province of … Continue Reading

German DPA Plans to Challenge Privacy Shield

The Privacy Shield is now live, having gone into effect on August 1. Perhaps emboldened by the Article 29 Working Party’s late July announcement that European regulators will not challenge the program’s adequacy for at least a year (after the first annual review of the program in May 2017), companies have begun self-certifying in order … Continue Reading

An Overview of the New General Data Protection Regulation

The European Parliament has approved the reformed General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”). Given this is a Regulation (rather than a Directive), this legislation will apply automatically in every Member State (without need for additional domestic legislation) when it comes into force on May 25 2018. Many of the requirements are similar to those set … Continue Reading

Privacy Shield Adopted, But Uncertainty Remains

Yesterday, the European Commission adopted the EU-US Privacy Shield, a framework designed to replace the invalidated Safe Harbor program. In theory, the Privacy Shield offers its adherents a relatively simple, straightforward way to legally transfer personal data from the EU to the US.  In reality, however, the Privacy Shield is likely to face legal challenges … Continue Reading

Are Dynamic IP Addresses Personal Data? A Primer

Last month, one of the Advocate Generals (“AG”) of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”), Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona, issued an opinion suggesting that dynamic IP addresses should be recognized as “personal data” under EU law. If the CJEU adopts this reasoning, it would represent a landmark decision that would resolve a contentious … Continue Reading

Article 29 Working Party has “Strong Concerns” About Privacy Shield

On Wednesday, the EU’s Article 29 Working Party issued its much-anticipated statement on the viability of the proposed EU-US Privacy Shield. As we’ve detailed previously, EU and US officials reached agreement on the Privacy Shield arrangement, which was meant to serve as a replacement for the invalidated Safe Harbor program, back in February, and released … Continue Reading

Safe Harbor 2.0 Agreement Reached; New Program to be Named “Privacy Shield”

Yesterday, the European Commission announced that EU and US officials had reached an agreement to implement a program known as the EU-US Privacy Shield.  Privacy Shield is designed to be the successor to the Safe Harbor program, which the European Court of Justice (CJEU) invalidated last October.  The announcement brings some relief to the many … Continue Reading

New Safe Harbor Deal Possible by February 1

Companies anxiously watching their calendars to see if a new Safe Harbor program will be introduced before the end of January may get their wish: yesterday, a European Commission official announced that the Commission will inform the European Parliament of the outcome of negotiations for a new Safe Harbor program by Monday, February 1.  This … Continue Reading

A Primer on the GDPR: What You Need to Know

Now that it’s been approved by the EU Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR” or the “Regulation”) is well on its way to replacing the 20-year-old Data Protection Directive (the “Directive”) as the EU’s omnibus data protection law.  Although it won’t officially become law until it receives the approval of … Continue Reading

GDPR Text Approved

Following yesterday’s announcement that European officials had agreed on the language of the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR” or “Regulation”), today the EU Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee approved the text of the GDPR.  The GDPR isn’t law yet, as it still needs to be approved by the EU Parliament next month.  However, the … Continue Reading

EU Officials (Finally) Agree on New Data Protection Regulation

After nearly four years of negotiation and wrangling, European Officials announced yesterday that they had finally reached agreement on the language for the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (“Regulation), which will replace the aging 1995 Data Protection Directive (“Directive”). In many ways, the announcement is welcome news as it will harmonize what had become … Continue Reading

The European Commission Issues Guidance on Alternative Cross-Border Data Transfer Tools

Today, one month after the European Court of Justice decision that invalidated the Safe Harbor framework, the European Commission (the “Commission”) issued a Communication setting forth its position on alternative tools for the lawful transfer of personal data from the EU to the United States.  The Commission also stated its objective to conclude negotiations with … Continue Reading

German DPAs Announce Policy Severely Limiting Mechanisms for Lawful Germany-to-U.S. Data Transfers

Over the course of the coming weeks, we will examine the various options available to companies in light of the European Court of Justice’s (CJEU) decision invalidating the US-EU Safe Harbor framework, including model contracts, binding corporate rules (BCRs), consent and reliance on derogations. News out of Germany, however, indicates that a one-size-fits all approach … Continue Reading

A German DPA Questions the Validity of the Use of Consent and Model Contractual Clauses to Transfer Personal Data to the U.S.

Just one week after the milestone decision rendered by the CJEU (http://curia.europa.eu/juris/celex.jsf?celex=62014CJ0362&lang1=fr&type=TXT&ancre) to invalidate the Safe Harbor program established 15 years ago between the U.S. and the EU to facilitate the transfer of personal data from the EU to the U.S., a German data protection authority (DPA) issued a position paper where it states that, … Continue Reading

Uncertainty for the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Intensified by Non-Binding Recommendation for EU High Court

In a non-binding opinion issued on September 23, 2015, an Advocate General for the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) recommended that the ECJ suspend the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program (“Safe Harbor”) and reexamine whether the Safe Harbor provides adequate protection for personal data of EU citizens.  In light of its non-binding nature, the opinion did … Continue Reading

Google Declares “Non!” to French Privacy Regulator’s Demands that Google Apply the “Right to be Forgotten” Worldwide

In an expected but controversial move, Google has rejected a demand by the French Data Privacy authority CNIL to apply the European “Right to be Forgotten” worldwide. We have covered the E.U.’s Right to be Forgotten before, but here is a quick recap: under the E.U. rule, individuals have the right to require organizations that … Continue Reading

In the E.U., Where to Bring Suit When the Subject is Data and the Defendant is a U.S. Company? Hint: It’s About More Than Just Location

When are U.S. social media companies subject to European data privacy laws? As we reported in 2013, the answer is often contingent on geographic location – where the relevant data is processed. In 2013, for example, a German court ruled that Facebook was not subject to German data protection laws because the relevant data was … Continue Reading
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