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.


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.


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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CJEU Advocate General Opinion Calls for Active and Separate Cookie Consents

On March 21, 2019, the Advocate General (AG) of the highest EU Court (the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)) issued an opinion (opinion) in the Planet49 case[1] on what constitutes valid consent for cookies under the Data Protection Directive, the GDPR, and the e-Privacy Directive.

In particular, the AG opines that: 1) a pre-ticked checkbox that users must untick to refuse consent does not constitute valid consent; 2) consent for cookies should not be bundled with other consents; and 3) users must be informed about the cookies’ lifespan and the third parties accessing the cookies. AG opinions are not binding on the CJEU, but are often influential. If the CJEU follows the AG Opinion, it will likely impact widely-adopted cookie consent practices in the EU and underlying business models that rely on such consent. Continue Reading

Brexit and Its Implications for Data Protection

On March 20, 2019, WSGR partner Cédric Burton and Of Counsel Lore Leitner hosted a webcast, “Brexit and Its Implications for Data Protection.” In this webcast, Burton and Leitner break down the potential far-reaching effects of the United Kingdom’s pending exit from the European Union on businesses operating in the UK and EU.

In this hour-long panel, the firm experts break down the steps that companies should consider taking to prepare for Brexit and potential changes to their data protection compliance program. Burton and Leitner discuss Brexit and its relationship to the GDPR; its various impacts on business, e.g., data transfers, binding corporate rules (BCRs), privacy notices, and other issues; and how to best prepare for a hard Brexit.


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