On August 27, 2021, the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (“Swiss DPA”) announced that the new EU Standard Contractual Clauses (the “SCCs”) may be relied on to legitimize transfers of personal data from Switzerland to countries without an adequate level of data protection, provided that the necessary amendments and adaptations are made for use under Swiss data protection law.
On September 2, 2021, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (“DPC”) announced a fine of €225 million ($266 million) against WhatsApp Ireland Ltd (“WhatsApp”) for failure to meet the transparency requirements of Articles 12-14 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). This fine represents a more than four-fold increase in the €30-50 million fine that was proposed in a draft decision issued by the DPC in December 2020. Due to the cross-border nature of WhatsApp’s data processing activities, the DPC’s draft decision was reviewed by other relevant supervisory authorities, as required by the cooperation and consistency mechanism under Chapter VII of the GDPR. Eight other EU regulators objected to the DPC’s draft decision. Their objections were referred to the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”), in accordance with the dispute resolution procedure under Article 65(1)(a) of the GDPR, after the DPC failed to reach a consensus with the objecting regulators.
On September 1, 2021, the South Korean Personal Information Protection Commission (“PIPC”) issued fines against Netflix and Facebook for violations of the Korean Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”).
On August 30, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that it had settled three administrative cases involving a total of eight registered broker-dealers and investment advisers for failures in their cybersecurity policies and procedures. These failures led to email account takeovers that exposed personal information of thousands of customers at each firm. The cases are In the Matter of Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Release No. 34-92800; In the Matter of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., Release No. 34-92806; and In the Matter of KMS Financial Services, Inc., Release No. 34-92807, August 30, 2021.
On August 16, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that Pearson plc (“Pearson”), a publicly traded British multinational educational publishing and services company, agreed to pay a $1 million civil penalty in a settlement related to charges that Pearson misled investors about a 2018 data breach resulting in the theft of millions of student records. The SEC’s order found that Pearson made material misstatements and omissions about the data breach in a report furnished to the SEC and in a media statement.
On August 25, 2021, New Mexico Attorney General (“AG”) Hector Balderas sued Rovio Entertainment (“Rovio” or the “Company”), the developer of the popular Angry Birds mobile app games, alleging that the Company violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) by knowingly collecting data from players under age 13 and sharing it with advertisers. Under COPPA, developers of child-directed apps are required to provide notice to parents of their data collection practices and obtain verifiable parental consent to collect personal information from children under 13.
On August 19, 2021, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) approved the criteria for three certification schemes, as required under Article 42(5) of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (“UK GDPR”). Certification schemes are one method for organizations to demonstrate compliance with the UK GDPR.
On August 26, 2021, the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport (“DCMS”) made news by publishing a document indicating its intent to begin making adequacy decisions for UK data transfers to foreign jurisdictions and by announcing its preferred candidate for the position of new UK Information Commissioner.
On August 20, 2021, China’s 13th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passed the Personal Information Protection Law (the “PIPL”). As we previously reported, the PIPL is China’s first comprehensive data protection law. It is modeled, in part, on other jurisdictions’ omnibus data protection regimes, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). The PIPL will become effective on November 1, 2021. Below are some of the key provisions under the PIPL.
The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (“CARU”), a part of a part of the Better Business Bureau National Programs (“BBBNP”), released its revised Children’s Advertising Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) earlier this month. The Guidelines, which contain some notable changes, will go into effect in January 2022.