On January 15, 2019, the UK House of Commons rejected the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK Prime Minister and the EU by a margin of 432-202. While the magnitude of the loss sets in motion a process which could potentially have resulted in an early general election being held, on January 16 a majority of British Members of Parliament rejected a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government.

Continue Reading UK House of Commons Rejects Draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

On November 30, 2018, the Austrian Data Protection Authority (“DPA”) published a decision in response to a complaint received from an individual regarding the cookie consent options offered on an Austrian newspaper’s website. As a factual matter, the Austrian newspaper offered three options to individuals who sought to access content on the site: (1) accept the use of cookies for analytics and advertising purposes and have full, complimentary website access; (2) refuse cookies and obtain access to only limited content on the website; or (3) pay a monthly subscription of €6 to obtain full access to the website without accepting the use of cookies and similar tracking technologies.

Continue Reading Austrian DPA Issues Decision on Validity of Cookie Consent Solution

On December 20, 2018, the French data protection authority (the “CNIL”) announced that it levied a €400,000 fine on Uber France SAS, the French establishment of Uber B.V. and Uber Technologies Inc., for failure to implement some basic security measures that made possible the 2016 Uber data breach. Continue Reading CNIL Fines Uber for Data Security Failure Related to 2016 Data Breach

On December 20, 2018, the Department of Commerce updated its frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) on the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks (collectively, the “Privacy Shield”) to clarify the effect of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU on March 29, 2019. The FAQs provide information on the steps Privacy Shield participants must take to receive personal data from the UK in reliance on the Privacy Shield after Brexit.

Continue Reading Department of Commerce Updates Privacy Shield FAQs to Clarify Applicability to UK Personal Data

EU data protection authorities (“DPAs”) are proving their willingness as enforcers with respect to the GDPR, not just with regard to the most serious acts of non-compliance but also for errors of a more administrative nature. Under the previous regime, DPAs typically required companies to register their processing activities with the regulator, but the GDPR now permits organizations to maintain data processing inventories internally, only showing them to DPAs when there is a particular need to do so. In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) introduced a requirement for organizations to pay a “data protection fee,” which data controllers falling under the ICO’s scope must pay once a year. Those companies that fail to pay the fee risk incurring a fine of up to £4,350 each.

Continue Reading ICO Notifies More Than 900 Organizations of Failure to Pay Required Data Protection Fee

On November 14, 2018, the UK government and the EU agreed upon the text of a draft Withdrawal Agreement in relation to the UK’s impending exit from the European Union on March 29, 2019. The draft Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transition period under which the UK will remain subject to a number of its EU membership obligations, during the period starting when the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019 to the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020. The draft Withdrawal Agreement provides the following in relation to data protection law: Continue Reading UK and EU Draft Withdrawal Agreement

The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) in the UK has issued the first formal enforcement action under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the UK Data Protection Act 2018 (the “DPA”) on Canadian data analytics firm AggregateIQ Data Services Ltd. (“AIQ”). The enforcement action, in the form of an Enforcement Notice served under section 149 of the DPA, requires AIQ to “cease processing any personal data of UK or EU citizens obtained from UK political organizations or otherwise for the purposes of data analytics, political campaigning or any other advertising purposes.” Continue Reading ICO Issues First Enforcement Action Under the GDPR

Recently, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) fined credit rating agency Equifax £500,000 for failing to protect the personal data of up to 15 million UK individuals. The data was compromised during a cyber attack that occurred between May 13 and July 30, 2017, which affected 146 million customers globally. Although Equifax’s systems in the U.S. were targeted, the ICO found the credit agency’s UK arm, Equifax Ltd, failed to take appropriate steps to ensure that its parent firm, which processed this data on its behalf, had protected the information. The ICO investigation uncovered a number of serious contraventions of the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (the “DPA”), resulting in the ICO imposing on Equifax Ltd the maximum fine available. Continue Reading UK ICO Fines Equifax for 2017 Breach

On July 12, 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May presented her Brexit White Paper, “The Future Relationship Between the United Kingdom and the European Union,” (the “White Paper”) to Parliament. The White Paper outlines the UK’s desired future relationship with the EU post-Brexit, and includes within its scope important data protection-related issues, including digital trade, data flows, cooperation for the development of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), and the role of the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”), as further discussed below: Continue Reading Brexit White Paper Addresses Data Protection-Related Issues