UK Information Commissioner Publishes Advice on BCR Applications under the GDPR

On November 20, 2017, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) published an article on its blog containing advice on applications for Binding Corporate Rules (“BCRs”) to comply with requirements under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). BCRs, which are one of the legal mechanisms available to support transfers of personal data outside the EEA, are codified under the GDPR, prompting a number of companies to explore the possibility of applying for BCR authorization. In its article, the ICO stressed that it will continue to accept applications for BCRs in the lead up to GDPR implementation on May 25, 2018, and beyond, and that the UK’s exit from the European Union, currently scheduled for the end of March 2019, will not result in the cancellation of any of the approximately 40 BCR applications currently being considered by the ICO.

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FTC Seeks Public Comment on Sears’ Petition to Modify Prior Order on Consumer Tracking

On November 8, 2017, Sears Holding Management Corporation (“Sears”) requested that the FTC reopen and modify a 2009 Commission Order (the “Order”) settling charges that Sears inadequately disclosed the scope of consumer data collected through the company’s software application. The initial FTC complaint alleged that Sears represented to consumers that its downloadable software application would track users’ “online browsing,” but in fact tracked nearly all of the users’ Internet behavior. Sears petitioned the FTC to modify the Order’s definition of “tracking system,” which the company contends is overbroad and impracticable. The FTC is seeking public comment on Sears’ petition, which it will receive until December 8, 2017.

German Privacy Laws Intersect with Discovery in a Patent Case

On November 8, 2017, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ordered German defendants in an ongoing patent suit, BrightEdge Technologies, Inc. v. Searchmetrics GmbH, to produce a particular database, despite the defendants’ claims that such production would violate German privacy laws. Continue Reading

FTC Announces Settlement with Tax Prep Service Over Financial Privacy and Security Violations

On November 8, 2017, the FTC announced a settlement with Georgia-based online tax preparation service, TaxSlayer, LLC (“TaxSlayer”), regarding allegations that the company violated federal rules on financial privacy and data security. According to the FTC’s complaint, malicious hackers were able to gain full access to nearly 9,000 TaxSlayer user accounts between October 2015 and December 2015. The hackers allegedly used the personal information contained in the users’ accounts, including contact information, Social Security numbers and financial information, to engage in tax identify theft and obtain tax refunds through filing fraudulent tax returns. The FTC charged TaxSlayer with violating the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s Safeguards Rule and Privacy Rule.  Continue Reading

Hilton Agrees to Settle Data Breach-Related Claims by NY and VT Attorneys General

On October 31, 2017, the New York and Vermont Attorneys General (“Attorneys General”) announced a settlement with Hilton Domestic Operating Company, Inc., formerly known as Hilton Worldwide, Inc. (“Hilton”), to settle allegations that the company lacked reasonable data security and waited too long to report a pair of 2015 data breaches, which exposed over 350,000 credit card numbers. The Attorneys General alleged that Hilton failed to maintain reasonable data security and waited more than nine months after the first incident to notify consumers of the breaches, in violation of the states’ consumer protection and breach notification laws. Continue Reading

Canadian Privacy Commissioner Issues Report on Children’s Educational Apps

Recently, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) issued its 2017 Global Privacy Enforcement Network Sweep results (the “Report”), which focused on certain privacy practices of online educational tools and services targeted at classrooms. The OPC examined the privacy practices of two dozen educational websites and apps used by K-12 students. The “sweep” sought to replicate the consumer experience by interacting with the websites and apps, and recording the privacy practices and controls in place. The overarching theme of the Report is “user controls over personal information,” which the OPC further refined into four subthemes: (1) transparency, (2) consent, (3) age-appropriate collection and disclosure, and (4) deletion of personal information. Continue Reading

French DPA Publishes a Compliance Pack Regarding Connected Vehicles

On October 17, 2017, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”), after a consultation with multiple industry participants that was launched on March 23, 2016, published its compliance pack on connected vehicles (the “Pack”) in line with its report of October 3, 2016. The Pack applies to connected vehicles for private use only (not to Intelligent Transport Systems), and describes the main principles data controllers must adhere to under both the current French legislation and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).    Continue Reading

Advocate General Rejects Facebook’s Claim of Sole Irish Jurisdiction in EU

On October 24, 2017, an opinion issued by the EU’s Advocate General Bot (“Bot”) rejected Facebook’s assertion that its EU data processing activities fall solely under the jurisdiction of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. The non-binding opinion was issued in relation to the CJEU case C-210/16, under which the German courts sought to clarify whether the data protection authority (“DPA”) in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein could take action against Facebook with respect to its use of web tracking technologies on a German education provider’s fan page without first providing notice. Continue Reading

CIPL Responds to CNIL and Irish DPC on Transparency and Data Transfers under the GDPR

The Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams LLP (“CIPL”) recently submitted responses to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC Response) and the CNIL (CNIL Response) on their public consultations, seeking views on transparency and international data transfers under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

The responses address a variety of questions posed by both data protection authorities (“DPAs”) and aim to provide insight on and highlight issues surrounding transparency and international transfers. Continue Reading

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