On February 9, 2016, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a permanent Federal Privacy Council (“Privacy Council”) that will serve as the principal interagency support structure to improve the privacy practices of government agencies and entities working on their behalf. The Privacy Council is charged with building on existing interagency efforts to protect privacy and provide expertise and assistance to government agencies, expand the skill and career development opportunities of agency privacy professionals, improve the management of agency privacy programs, and promote collaboration between and among agency privacy professionals.
On February 3, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) ruled that Lincare, Inc. (“Lincare”) violated the HIPAA Privacy Rule and ordered the company to pay $239,800 to OCR.
On February 3, 2016, the Article 29 Working Party (the “Working Party”) issued a statement on the consequences of the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) in the Schrems case invalidating the European Commission’s Safe Harbor Decision.
A federal judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied Neiman Marcus’ motion to dismiss in Remijas et al. v. Neiman Marcus Group, LLC, 1:14-cv-01735. As we previously reported, the Seventh Circuit reversed Judge James B. Zagel’s earlier decision dismissing the class action complaint based on Article III standing. At that time the Seventh Circuit declined to analyze dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) due to, among other reasons, the district court’s focus on standing.
On February 2, 2016, a new EU-U.S. transatlantic data transfer agreement was reached. Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, presented the new agreement to the European Commission (the “Commission”) today. According to the Commission’s press release, the new agreement will be called the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.
On February 1, 2016, Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, told the European Parliament that an agreement on a new U.S.-EU Safe Harbor agreement has not yet been reached. Jourová indicated that an agreement is close, but additional work is needed to finalize it.
On January 28, 2016, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (“CIPL”) held a special roundtable at Hunton & Williams’ Brussels office to examine the “essential equivalence” requirement for protection of data transfers to non-EU countries set by the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (“CJEU’s”) Schrems decision. The roundtable brought together leading lawyers, corporate privacy officers, legal experts, regulators and policymakers to discuss the critical issues and impact of the new “essential equivalence” requirement for global data transfers set by the CJEU, and its relevance to the current EU-U.S. negotiations of a new Safe Harbor agreement.
On January 28, 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Judicial Redress Act (the “Act”), which would give EU citizens the right to sue over certain data privacy issues in the U.S. The Act passed after an amendment was approved which would condition EU citizens’ right to sue on EU Member States (1) allowing companies to transfer personal data to the U.S. for commercial purposes and (2) having personal data transfer policies which do not materially impede the national security interests of the U.S. The vote was initially set to take place on January 21, 2016, but was delayed.
According to Bloomberg BNA, Paul F. Nemitz, Director for Fundamental Rights and Union Citizenship at the Directorate-General Justice of the European Commission, said at a privacy conference that he hoped a new U.S.-EU Safe Harbor agreement would be reached by the evening of Monday, February 1, 2016.
On January 13, 2016, the Russian Data Protection Authority (Roscommandzor) released its plan for audits this year to assess compliance with Russia’s data localization law, which became effective on September 1, 2015. The localization law requires companies to store the personal data of Russians in databases located in Russia. The audit plan indicates that the Roscommandzor will audit large, multinational companies doing business in numerous jurisdictions and processing the personal data of Russian citizens.