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On Monday, January 29th, we celebrated Global Data Protection Day by delivering an exciting webinar highlighting the latest data protection laws and bills that might influence your business.

Please see below our webinar recording featuring our data protection specialists, and learn tips and tricks for successfully navigating the evolving landscape of data protection.

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Background

The European Commission (EC) issued the long-awaited adequacy decision for the new EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework (Framework) on July 10, 2023. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had previously invalidated both the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor in 2015, and the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield in 2020 after challenges by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems (CJEU decisions known as Schrems I and Schrems II, respectively). Following those decisions President Biden signed Executive Order 14086 on “Enhancing Safeguards for United States Signals Intelligence Activities”, which introduced new binding safeguards. Our previous client alert discussed how the draft adequacy decision, including in relation to this this Executive Order, addressed concerns raised in Schrems II.Continue Reading Third Time’s a Charm: European Commission adopts EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework

Digital Markets Act: Developments since its proposal  

Following the European Commission’s initial proposal of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in December 2020, its adoption by the European Parliament in March 2022 and the entry into force on November 1, 2022, the DMA will finally apply from May 2, 2023. The DMA contains a list of obligations and prohibitions, subject to fines, that core platform services (CPS) provided by so-called gatekeepers must comply with in their daily operations. CPS should therefore be assessed at an early stage regarding whether or not they fall within the scope of regulation of the DMA.

As is set out in the following, the DMA poses significant business challenges for (potential)
gatekeepers, which should be addressed in a legally sound, comprehensive and systematic manner in order to prevent disruptions to the relevant businesses. Continue Reading Countdown to compliance: The DMA to apply to digital gatekeepers from May 2, 2023  

Background

On 1 August 2022, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) issued a decision (“Decision”) clarifying how the indirect disclosure of sexual orientation data is protected as special category data under Article 9 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). “Special Category Data” is defined within Article 9(1) of the GDPR and includes (for example) a data subject’s racial or ethnic origin or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation. The processing of such sensitive personal data is expressly prohibited, unless the processing is exempted from the prohibition in the sense of Article 9(2) GDPR.Continue Reading CJEU rules on interpretation of EU GDPR special categories of data

The German Data Protection Authorities (German DPAs) released a “Report on the Experience Gained in the Implementation of the GDPR”, which was adopted at their conference on November 6, 2019 (Report; available in German here and English here). In this blog, we summarize the key issues that the German DPAs have raised in the Report.

Background

Under Article 97 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU Commission is required to submit an evaluation and review report on the implementation of the GDPR by May 25, 2020 – so two years after the GDPR became applicable. The German DPAs want to share their experience to contribute to this process and have thus published the Report. The German DPAs opine that the GDPR’s regulatory concept and objectives have largely proved successful and that the heavy GDPR fines are a driver for developing broad-based awareness of data protection. However, they also acknowledge that some uncertainty remains when it comes to GDPR implementation and that there still is a need for guidance from the supervisory authorities.Continue Reading Evaluation of the GDPR – The German supervisory authorities weigh in

Today, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) handed down its decision in Google v. CNIL, dealing with the remit of the ‘right to be forgotten’ (RTBF). In short, the ECJ held that the operator of a search engine is not required to carry out de-referencing on all domain extensions of its search engine when dealing with a RTBF request. It is required, however, to carry out de-referencing on the versions of its search engine corresponding to all member states and take measures to protect the data subject’s fundamental rights. Though the decision was made under the former Data Protection Directive, it will have implications for data subjects under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as the RTBF was codified by GDPR Article 17.
Continue Reading Forget-me-not: Google v. CNIL defines territorial scope of the right to be forgotten

In its response dated 3 July 2019 (Response; file no. 19/11351, available in German here) to an inquiry by members of the German parliament (Inquiry), the German government took stand on the current draft Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications (ePrivacy Regulation), and particularly on “tracking”. The German government summarises its assessment of the ePrivacy Regulation:

“Germany has declared its view at a session of the Council of the EU on 7 June 2019 in Luxembourg. The ePrivacy Regulation must guarantee a high level of protection that goes beyond the protection that the GDPR provides. The current draft does not achieve this objective. Germany cannot support the current draft.”

German government’s assessment of the ePrivacy Regulation

The Inquiry sought, among other things, the German government’s responses on (i) whether “tracking” should be regulated more extensively at an EU level and (ii) what specific amendments have to be made to the ePrivacy Regulation.
Continue Reading Update on ePrivacy Regulation: “Current draft does not guarantee high level of protection and cannot be supported”, German government states

In its recent decision of 11 June 2019 (docket no.: 4 U 760/19, available here), the Dresden Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht Dresden – Court of Appeals) had to decide on claims for damages under Article 82 GDPR with regard to minor violations of the GDPR.

Background

The defendant, the provider of a social

The Lower Saxony Data Protection Authority (Lower Saxony DPA) has audited 50 large and medium-sized organizations over the last couple of months regarding their implementation of the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and is currently finalising the audits. On 7 August 2019, the Lower Saxony DPA released the

“The internet’s not written in pencil, it’s written in ink.”

Advocate General (AG) Szpunar commenced his opinion dated 4 June 2019 in Case C-18/18 (Opinion, available here) with the above quote from the movie The Social Network. In the Opinion the AG analysed the substantive scope of injunctions, in particular if social network providers “may be required to delete, with the help of a metaphorical ink eraser, certain content placed online by users of that platform”, as well as its territorial scope.

I. Background
An Austrian politician applied at the Vienna Commercial Court (Austria) for an injunction requiring a social network provider to cease the publication of a – in her view – defamatory comment about her. A user of the social network shared an article from a news website on their personal page on the network, whereupon the social network generated a ‘thumbnail’ of that post, containing the title, a brief summary of the article and a photograph of the politician. The user also published a disparaging comment about the politician alongside the post (Content in Question). Any user of the social network was able to access the Content in Question.

The Vienna Commercial Court issued the requested injunction and ordered the social network provider to delete and to stop disseminating the Content in Question. Subsequently, the social network provider disabled access to the content in Austria, but not for other countries. After the Vienna Higher Regional Court upheld the injunction, the case was brought to the Austrian Supreme Court. The Austrian Supreme Court referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) the questions of whether the injunction can be extended (i) worldwide, and (ii) to statements with identical wording and/or equivalent content. The Austrian Supreme Court ultimately asked the CJEU to interpret the Directive on electronic commerce (eCommerce Directive) in this context.Continue Reading Advocate General’s opinion on social networks’ obligations on (worldwide) deletion of illegal content