The UK Information Commissioner's Office announces new rules for website cookies, which will normally require explicit user consent.
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.
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.
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.
Social networking entails some risks and responsibilities. It may implicate privacy and labor law, confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements, advertising regulations, defamation, and other legal regimes, across borders in a global medium. Users, and their employers, need to be aware of these risks and responsibilities in deciding how to make best use of social media.
The European Court of Justice rules that Google is not liable for automated keyword advertising based on brand names. Advertisers, however, may be liable under trademark and fair competition laws if the ads misleadingly suggest that they link to the trademark owner.