Belgian Facebook Case Referred to the European Court of Justice

On May 8, 2019, the Brussels Court of Appeal referred the Belgian Data Protection Authority’s (DPA) case against Facebook to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) to address jurisdictional issues regarding which DPA is competent to bring enforcement actions against Facebook. The case deals with Facebook’s collection of individuals’ data through cookies stored in Facebook’s social plugins. The Belgian DPA alleges that Facebook’s data collection is unlawful as it lacks valid consent and does not provide appropriate notice to individuals. Several courts in Belgium have already examined the issues, but it now reaches a new phase as the Brussels Court of Appeal Court referred critical questions to the CJEU dealing with the interpretation of the concept of “Lead Supervisory Authority” under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  Continue Reading

WSGR Event Recap: The State of Play in European Data Protection Law

On May 1, 2019, WSGR convened a panel of regulators and experts to discuss recent developments in European data protection law. The panel, moderated by Cédric Burton, featured Bruno Gencarelli, head of the International Data Flows and Protection Unit of the European Commission, Isabelle Vereecken, head of the Secretariat of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), and Dr. Christopher Kuner, senior privacy counsel at WSGR.

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WSGR Event Recap: Key State and Federal Legislative Privacy Developments

On May 1, 2019, WSGR held a panel discussing state and federal legislative privacy developments, including the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The panel, moderated by Chris Olsen, featured Ashkan Soltani, former chief technologist at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Shaundra Watson, the senior director for policy at BSA (The Software Alliance). Here are the key takeaways from the discussion: Continue Reading

WSGR Event Recap: The State of Play at the FTC on Privacy

On May 1, 2019, WSGR held an event in which regulators and experts discussed privacy developments in the U.S. and Europe. The first session featured a fireside chat with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Bureau of Consumer Protection Director, Andrew Smith, on “The State of Play at the FTC on Privacy.” In case you missed it, here are the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • More specificity in data security orders. Director Smith noted that we should expect to see more specificity in data security orders moving forward, particularly after the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in LabMD.1 He mentioned that the FTC’s approach to post-LabMD orders is still evolving, but the next data security order entered will likely reflect the FTC’s new approach.

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Belgian Data Protection Authority Is Up and Running

On April 25, 2019, the new chairman and the four directors of the new Belgian data protection authority were sworn in before the Belgian Parliament. This marks a new era for data protection law in Belgium.

Background

Following the effective date of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25, 2018, the Belgian Privacy Commission was restructured into a Supervisory Authority under the GDPR, thus becoming the Belgian Data Protection Authority. It was given new enforcement powers, including the ability to impose fines up to €20 million or 4 percent of total worldwide annual turnover (whichever is higher).

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The French Data Protection Authority Announces Stricter Enforcement

On April 15, 2019, the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) published its 2018 activity report and announced its 2019 enforcement agenda. The CNIL’s message is clear: if some leniency was tolerated in 2018, this transitional period for GDPR enforcement is now over. Going forward, the CNIL will adopt a stricter approach when investigating companies’ GDPR compliance and make full use of its enforcement powers, including the power to fine.

Background

As of May 25, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposes new and strict obligations on companies processing personal data. Most EU privacy regulators adopted a somewhat lenient approach when enforcing the new rules. Beside the €50 million fine against Google in early 2019, the CNIL has not made broad use of its enforcement powers since the GDPR became effective. All in all, 2018 was a transition year to allow companies to bring their practices into compliance.
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