On July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) invalidated Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-US Privacy Shield, ruling, among other things, that U.S. domestic law governing law enforcement access to transferred data does not satisfy the GDPR’s requirements because, as the Court stated, U.S. surveillance programs are not limited to “what is strictly necessary to achieve the legitimate objective in question”. In a separate portion of the opinion, however, the CJEU upheld as valid Commission Decision 2010/87 on standard contractual clauses (SCCs) for the transfer of personal data to processors established in third countries. This is the second ruling (known commonly as “Schrems II”) by the CJEU overturning an established mechanism to transfer personal data from the EU to the U.S. Indeed, only five years ago the CJEU issued its “Schrems I” decision invalidating the long-standing EU-U.S. Safe Harbor, which had been a method to transfer data across the Atlantic without running afoul of the EU Data Protection Directive, a predecessor of the GDPR.
On May 12, 2009, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) released a much anticipated report authored by the RAND Corporation assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) (the "Directive), the main source of privacy legislation in Europe. While the report highlighted a number of the Directive’s positive attributes, it nonetheless concluded that as society becomes more globally networked, "the Directive as it stands will not suffice in the long term."
The European Commission Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (“Working Party”) recently released its opinion on data protection issues related to search engines. The opinion specifically addresses the applicability of the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) and the Data Retention Directive (2006/24/EC) to the processing of personal data by search engines.