On May 16, 2011, EU's Article 29 Working Party (WP29) adopted an opinion setting out privacy compliance guidance for mobile geolocation services.WP29 is comprised of representatives from the EU member states' data protection authorities (DPAs), the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission. WP29's mandate includes (i) giving expert advice to the EU member states regarding the implementation of European data protection directives, and (ii) promoting uniform implementation of the directives in all EU state members as well as in Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. WP29's opinions, therefore, carry significant weight in the interpretation and enforcement of data protection laws by European DPAs. Not surprisingly, WP29 has concluded that geolocation data is "personal data" subject to the protections of the European data protection framework, including the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. The Working Party also determined that the collection, use and other processing of geolocation data through mobile devices generally requires explicit, informed consent of the individual. Below are the highlights of the opinion.
The UK Information Commissioner's Office announces new rules for website cookies, which will normally require explicit user consent.
Dan Or-Hof, a privacy and technology partner at the Israeli law firm Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer is reporting that the EU Commission published the much-anticipated announcement on the adequacy of data protection law in Israel. Published on January 31, 2011, the decision adopted by the Commission determines that Israel provides an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred from the EU, however only in relation to automated international data transfers and to automated processing of data in Israel.
On December 23, 2010, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev signed legislation delaying until July 1, 2011 the enforcement of the country's omnibus data protection law (the Federal Law Regarding Personal Data). Pursuant to the new legislation, the revised effective date for the country's data protection law is January 1, 2011, but operators have until July 1, 2011 to bring their personal data information systems into compliance with the law.
During the final week of October and beginning of November, I attended two privacy events that were set far apart geographically and philosophically: the Data Protection Commissioners Conference in Jerusalem and the ad:tech conference in New York City. The Jerusalem event had a decidedly pro-privacy flavor, while at ad:tech businesses showcased myriad ways for monetizing personal information. Both conferences posed interesting questions about the future of privacy, but as a privacy lawyer I was more interested in learning and observing than engaging in the privacy debates. The events' apparently divergent privacy narratives made me ponder where a privacy lawyer may fit on the privacy continuum between these two great cities.
Earlier today, the European Commission released documents setting out the road map for revision of the European data protection rules, including the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. The strategy is based on the Commission's position that an individual's ability to control his or her information, have access to the information, and modify or delete the information are "essential rights that have to be guaranteed in today's digital world." The Commission set out a strategy on how to protect personal data while reducing barriers for businesses and ensuring free flow of personal data within the European Union.
Last week, we joined privacy regulators, practitioners and industry representatives from around the world in Jerusalem for the 32nd International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners. On numerous panels, conference participants engaged in lively discussions about privacy compliance and enforcement as well as the future of privacy in light of evolving consumer expectations and advances in technology that tracks and identifies individuals.
Scott Blackmer provides a "discovery" checklist for global enterprises handling personal data from multiple jurisdictions, as well as advice on a global approach to privacy compliance and risk management.
German state data protection authorities have recently criticized both cloud computing and the EU-US Safe Harbor Framework. From some of the reactions, you would think that both are in imminent danger of a European crackdown. That's not likely, but the comments reflect some concerns with recent trends in outsourcing and transborder data flows that multinationals would be well advised to address in their planning and operations.
Mexico has joined the ranks of more than 50 countries that have enacted omnibus data privacy laws covering the private sector. The new Federal Law on the Protection of Personal Data Held by Private Parties (Ley federal de protección de datos personales en posesión de los particulares) (the "Law") was published on July 5, 2010 and took effect on July 6. IAPP has released an unofficial English translation. The Law will have an impact on the many US-based companies that operate or advertise in Mexico, as well as those that use Spanish-language call centers and other support services located in Mexico.
A new set of EU standard contract clauses ("SCCs" or "model contracts") for processing European personal data abroad came into effect on May 15, 2010. Taken together with a recent opinion by the official EU "Article 29" working group on the concepts of "controller" and "processor" under the EU Data Protection Directive, this development suggests that it is time to review arrangements for business process outsourcing, software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing, and even interaffiliate support services, when they involve storing or processing personal data from Europe in the United States, India, and other common outsourcing locations.
In other posts, I addressed the trend in the United States to require encryption for certain categories of personal data that are sought by ID thieves and fraudsters - especially Social Security Numbers, driver's license numbers, and bank account or payment card details - as well as for medical information, which individuals tend to consider especially sensitive. These concerns are not, of course, limited to the United States. Comprehensive data protection laws in Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere include general obligations to maintain "reasonable" or "appropriate" or "proportional" security measures, usually without further elaboration. Some nations have gone further, however, to specify security measures.
Last month we posted some basics on cloud computing designed to provide some context and identify the legal issues. What is the cloud? Why is everyone in the tech community talking about it? Why do we as lawyers even care? Dave provided a few things for our readers to think about -- privacy, security, e-discovery. Now let's dig a little deeper. I am going to start with privacy and cross-border data transfers. Is there privacy in the cloud? What are the privacy laws to keep in mind? What are an organization's compliance obligations? As with so many issues in the privacy space, the answer begins with one key principle -- location, location, location.