EDPS Issues Opinion on the Challenges of Big Data

On November 19, 2015, the European Data Protection Supervisor (the “EDPS”) published an Opinion entitled Meeting the Challenges of Big Data (the “Opinion”). The Opinion outlines the main challenges, opportunities and risks of big data, and the importance placed on companies processing large volumes of personal data to implement innovative methods to comply with data protection laws. Continue Reading

APEC Leaders Reinforce Commitment to CBPR System

On November 19, 2015, the White House released a fact sheet from the 23rd Annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in the Philippines. Under the section on Enhancing Regional Economic Integration, representatives from the U.S. and other APEC economies reinforced their commitment to the ongoing implementation of the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (“CBPR”) system for information controllers.

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Class Action Filed Against Georgia’s Secretary of State

On November 17, 2015, two plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, improperly disclosed the Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and birth dates of more than 6.1 million Georgia voters. The lawsuit alleges that the Secretary violated Georgia’s Personal Identity Protection Act by disclosing the voters’ personally identifiable information, failing to provide voters notice of the breach and failing to notify consumer reporting agencies.

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CIPL Points to Transparency as Key Catalyst for Innovative Information Economy

On November 20, 2015, Markus Heyder, Vice President of the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (“CIPL”) at Hunton & Williams LLP, discussed how “transparency is increasingly understood as a core component of addressing the challenges of the modern information economy” and a key catalyst for a productive and innovative information economy in an article entitled Transparency and the Future of Driverless Privacy published by the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

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French Data Protection Authority Issues Guidance and FAQs on Safe Harbor

On November 19, 2015, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) published guidance, including a set of frequently asked questions, to assist companies that are transferring personal data to the U.S. pursuant to the Safe Harbor framework.

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Retailer Sued over Allegations that Background Check Consent Form Includes Extraneous Information

As reported in the Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives Blog:

On November 2, 2015, a putative class action was filed against retailer Big Lots Stores, Inc. in Philadelphia, stemming from allegations that the company “systematically” violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (“FCRA’s”) “standalone disclosure requirement” by making prospective employees sign a document used as a background check consent form that contained extraneous information. Among other things, the plaintiff alleges that Big Lots’ form violates the FCRA because it includes the following three categories of extraneous information: (1) an “implied liability waiver” (specifically, a statement that the applicant “fully understand[s] that all employment decisions are based on legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons”); (2) state-specific notices; and (3) information on how background information will be gathered and from which sources, statements pertaining to disputing any information, and the name and contact information of the consumer reporting agency.

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China Publishes New Regulation for Personal Data Security in the Courier Industry

On November 16, 2015, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China published a draft Regulation for Couriers (the “Regulation”) and requested public comment on the Regulation. Interested parties have until mid-December 2015 to submit comments on the Regulation. The Regulation comes at a time when courier services and online shopping are growing steadily in China. Under the Regulation, the sender of a parcel will be required to fill in his or her real name and address, the telephone numbers of both the sender and the recipient, as well as the name, quantity and nature of the object being couriered.

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FCC Reaches Settlement with Cable Operator over Customer Data Breach

On November 5, 2015, the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) entered into a Consent Decree with cable operator Cox Communications to settle allegations that the company failed to properly protect customer information when the company’s electronic data systems were breached in August 2014 by a hacker. The FCC alleged that Cox failed to properly protect the confidentiality of its customers’ proprietary network information (“CPNI”) and personally identifiable information, and failed to promptly notify law enforcement authorities of security breaches involving CPNI in violation of the Communications Act of 1934 and FCC’s rules.

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FTC Dismisses Complaint for Failure to Show Current or Future Substantial Consumer Injury

On November 13, 2015, Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell dismissed the FTC’s complaint against LabMD Inc. (“LabMD”) for failing to show that LabMD’s allegedly unreasonable data security practices caused, or were likely to cause, substantial consumer injury. The law judge did not address LabMD’s claim that the FTC does not have jurisdiction to enforce data security standards under the unfairness prong of Section 5 of the FTC Act, and LabMD has reserved its jurisdictional challenge for an anticipated appeal to the federal court. The action is In the Matter of LabMD Inc., Docket No. 9357.

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French Data Protection Authority Imposes Fine for Inadequate Security Measures

On November 13, 2015, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) announced its decision in a case against Optical Center, imposing a fine of €50,000 on the company for violations related to the security and confidentiality of its customers’ personal data.

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