Category: European Data Protection

WP29 – Statement on 2016 Action Plan for the GDPR

16. February 2016

The WP29 has recently published a statement with regards to the action plan in order to implement the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). The 2016 Action Plan is based on the following four priorities, which are relevant for the tasks of the WP29 and their subgroups.

1. Building up the EDPB (European Data Protection Board) structure and its administration

The main task will be developing IT systems. The European Data Protection Supervisor and the WP29 will furthermore cooperate to set up human resources, a budget and future procedures of the EDPB.

2. Setting up the One-Stop-Shop and the consistency mechanism

In order to prepare the One-Stop-Shop several measures will be necessary, e. g. a lead DPO will have to be designated and the EDPB consistency mechanisms need to be developed.

3. Publishing guidelines for data controllers and processors

The WP29 will publish different guidelines to assist data controllers and data processors in order to fulfil their duties according to the GDPR, such as the new right to portability, “Data Protection Impact Assessment”, and the announcement of a DPO.

4. Communication around the EDPB and the GDPR

The WP29 intends to create an online communication tool, to reinforce the relationship between the EU institutions and to participate in external events to promote the new governance model.

The subgroups of the WP29 will continue fulfilling their tasks. The International Transfers subgroup for instance will carry on analyzing the judgement of the European Court of Justice concerning e.g. the Schrems case. Furthermore, they will be analyzing the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and its impact on the international data transfers once it has been released.

The WP29 will examine the 2016 Action Plan regularly in order to complete it in 2017.

 

The French DPA requests Facebook to comply with the French Data Protection Act

12. February 2016

On the 8th February, the French DPA (CNIL) announced that it issued a formal notice in which it gives Facebook Inc. and Facebook Ireland Limited 3 months to comply with the French Data Protection Act.

After Facebook informed about changes in its privacy policy at the beginning of 2015, a group formed by the French, the Belgian, the Dutch, the Spanish and the DPA of the German Federal State of Hamburg carried out online and on site audits in order to find out if the updated privacy policy is compliant with the respective data protection legislations.

These audits revealed several incompliances with the French Data Protection Act regarding Facebook´s data processing activities:

  • Facebook collects data of internet users that do not have a Facebook account by using cookies when these users visit a public Facebook page, such as public events or the page of a friend. As a result, the cookie provides Facebook with information about third-party websites with Facebook plug-in buttons, such as “like” button, that are visited by the user.
  • Sensitive data such as religious beliefs or sexual orientation are also processed by Facebook without prior explicit consent of the account holders.
  • Users are not informed in the sign up page about their rights as data subjects and the processing of their personal data.
  • Cookies are also set up in the Facebook website without informing users properly and obtaining their consent.
  • The company does not provide its users with tools to opt-out targeted advertising.
  • Data transfers to U.S. take place on the basis of the Safe Harbor Decision, although it was declared invalid by the ECJ in October 2015.

According to CNIL, this formal notice is not a sanction. However, if Facebook fails to rectify these incompliances within 3 months, the matter will be referred to the CNIL´s Select Committee in order to impose the corresponding sanction.

These findings are also being analyzed by the Belgian, the Dutch, the Spanish and the the DPA of the German Federal State of Hamburg within a cooperation framework in order to act accordingly.

Statement of the U.S. Department of Commerce on the „EU – U.S. Privacy Shield“

5. February 2016

Not only European negotiators and institutions have given their opinion on the EU – U.S. Privacy Shield, also the U.S. Department of Commerce and the FTC Commissioner, Julie Brill, have made a public statement on the on the advantages of the implementation of the Privacy Shield.

On the 2nd February, the U.S. Department of Commerce stated that the EU – U.S. Privacy Shield improves, on the one hand, the commercial oversight and enhances privacy protections and, on the other hand, it demonstrates the U.S. commitment to limitations on national security. The statement of the Department of Commerce remarks the cooperation between the FTC and EU Data protection Authorities and its commitment to review the Agreement on an annual basis. Also, it ensures that the U.S. Intelligence Community has described in writing the constitutional, statutory and policy safeguards applied to its operations.

The FTC offered a live webcast on the 4th February in which the EU – U.S. Privacy Shield was explained by FTC Commissioner Julie Brill. During the webcast the main aspects of the EU – U.S. privacy Shield were explained. Julie Brill remarked the commercial relevance of this agreement and the acknowledgement by U.S Authorities that the rights of the individuals and national security should be balanced.

 

Statement of the WP29 on the “EU – U.S. Privacy Shield”

4. February 2016

After the Press Conference held by Věra Jourová and Andrus Ansip from the European Commission about the proposal for a new agreement between EU and U.S. to carry out international data transfers, the WP29 met on the 2-3 February in order to discuss the consequences of the sentence from the ECJ and the future of international data transfers between EU and the U.S.

The WP29 has remarked that the following four guarantees should be ensured when international data transfers take place:

a) Transparency: the data subject whose data is processed should be informed so that he/she is able to foreseen the consequences of the data transfer.

b) Proportionality and necessity: the finality for which personal data is collected and accessed and the rights of the data subject should be balanced.

c) Independency of a control body that carries out checks in an effective and impartial manner.

d) Effective remedies: the individual should have the possibility to defend his/her rights before an independent body.

The WP29 will also analyze the existing mechanisms to carry out international data transfers, which currently can only take place if Standard Contractual Clauses or Binding Corporate Rules (BCR) are used. In any case, European DPAs will examine data transfers on a case-by-case basis.

However, the WP29 is still looking forward to receive the relevant documents related to the EU – U.S. Privacy Shield in order to analyze its content and to determine to which extent the agreement is legally binding.

 

If you would like to be updated on a regular basis on this and other data protection issues such as the General Data Protection Directive (GDPR), sign in for one of our newsletters:

German / European Data Protection http://www.datenschutzticker.de/newsletter/ (German Language)

International Data Protection http://www.privacy-ticker.com/newsletter/ (English language)

For how to proceed with your companies´ policies on internal or external data protection transfers to third countries and prepare for the GDPR seek individual advice.

 

The “EU – U.S. Privacy Shield”, a new agreement for international data transfers

3. February 2016

After continuous negotiations during the last months to agree on a new framework for international data transfers, since the ECJ invalidated the Safe Harbor Decision, Andrus Ansip (EU Commission Vice-President) and Věra Jourová (Commissioner) announced yesterday in a Press Conference that a new agreement (EU – U.S. Privacy Shield) to carry out international data transfers has been reached.

Under the EU – U.S. Privacy Shield, the following elements will be regulated:

  • Several redress possibilities will be guaranteed to EU citizens when data transfers to U.S. take place and companies, as first redress possibility, will have deadlines to resolve complaints.
  • The resolution includes a “multi-layered” approach in order to avoid that any complaints remain unresolved by offering different resolution mechanisms. Also the European DPAs will have the possibility to refer complaints to the U.S. Department of Commerce and to the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Companies will be subject to strong obligations regarding the processing of personal data imported from EU Member States. Particularly, personal data processed for HR purposes in the U.S. will have to comply with the decisions of EU DPAs.
  • It will be ensured that national authorities only have access to personal data from EU citizens in exceptional cases and subject to the principles of necessity and proportionality.
  • The figure of the “ombudsman” will be created, in order to make possible that EU citizens can complain regarding surveillance activities by national authorities.

This new framework should be reviewed in an annual basis, so that the rights of EU citizens regarding data protection are continuously ensured. This is an important step forward in comparison with the invalidated Safe Harbor Decision.

Although the main points of this agreement have been discussed, the written draft may take up to three months, as Commissioner Věra Jourová said. The Working Party 29 will advise the College of Commissioners on this issue before adopting the official decision. Additionally, the agreement will have to withstand scrutiny from the ECJ.

New Safe Harbor Agreement

2. February 2016

European officials and the U.S. agreed today on a new safe harbor agreement. The EU Article 29 Working Group had set a deadline until the end of January 2016 to find an alternative agreement, which was missed. The agreement still needs to be approved by the 28 member states. Further information on the new safe harbor agreement is expected after the EU Article 29 Working Group meeting, which is supposed to take place today and tomorrow.

28th January: Data Protection Day

29. January 2016

Yesterday, 28th of January, the 10th anniversary of the Data Protection Day was celebrated. This day was launched on April 2006 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Several data protection authorities from different EU Member States and member institutions of the Council of Europe organized events in order to commemorate the Europe´s Convention 108 on the protection of personal data, the first binding document on this field at international level.

On this day, conferences, workshops and awareness activities take place, in order to discuss about the most current issues on data protection and IT security. This year the focus lied on international data transfers and cybersecurity.

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