Archives: EU Data Protection

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French Court of Cassation Decides That an Employer Can Use a Facebook Post to Dismiss an Employee

On September 30, 2020, the French Court of Cassation (“Court”) ruled in favor of an employer that dismissed an employee because of the contents of a Facebook post (the decision is available here, in French).  In particular, the employee in this case posted a photograph of a new clothing collection of the employer on a … Continue Reading

New Guidelines for Companies from German Supervisory Authority (DPA-BW) following Schrems II

On September 7, 2020, the German data protection supervisory authority for Baden-Wuerttemberg (“DPA-BW”) released new guidelines following the Schrems II judgment on how companies should transfer data to third countries. For a more in-depth summary of the CJEU’s Schrems II decision, please see our previous blog post here and our audiocast episode here.… Continue Reading

H&M Receives Record-Breaking Fine for Employee Surveillance in Violation of the GDPR

On October 1, 2020, the Hamburg Data Protection Authority (“Hamburg DPA”) fined H&M, the Swedish clothing company, over €35 million for illegally surveilling employees at its service center in Nuremberg.  This fine is the largest financial penalty issued by a German DPA to date for a violation of the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), … Continue Reading

EDPB Publishes Draft Guidelines on the Targeting of Social Media Users

On 7 September 2020, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) adopted draft guidelines on the targeting of social media users (the “Guidelines”).  The Guidelines aim to clarify the roles and responsibilities of social media providers and “targeters” with regard to the processing of personal data for the purposes of targeting social media users.… Continue Reading

European Commission Proposes Interim Regulation to Combat Child Sexual Abuse Online

On 10 September 2020, the European Commission proposed an interim regulation designed to enable online communications service providers to combat child sexual abuse online. Once in force, this regulation will provide a legal basis for providers to voluntarily scan communications or traffic data on their services for the limited purpose of detecting child sexual abuse … Continue Reading

EDPB Publishes Guidelines on the GDPR Concepts of “Controller”, “Joint Controller” and “Processor”

On September 2, 2020, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) adopted guidelines on the concepts of “controller” and processor” under the GDPR. The Article 29 Working Party had already issued a guidance on this topic in 2010. Although the GDPR did not change the definitions of “controller” and “processor”, the EDPB’s guidelines aim to bring … Continue Reading

Life After Schrems II: Practical Recommendations In An Uncertain Time

On 16 July, 2020, the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”), issued its decision in the Schrems II case.  In short, the CJEU invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and clarified that the use of standard contractual clauses (“SCCs”) requires data controllers to conduct a case-by-case assessment of the level of data protection that SCCs … Continue Reading

Inside Privacy Audiocast: Episode 2 – Data Protection Hot Topics in Russia

On the second episode of our Inside Privacy Audiocast, we are aiming our looking glass at Russia, and are joined for our discussion by Partner Maria Ostashenko and Senior Associate Anastasia Petrova of the Data Protection and Cybersecurity practice at the Alrud law firm in Moscow. The pair discuss Russia’s data protection framework, zooming in … Continue Reading

Inside Privacy Audiocast: Episode 1 – Post-Schrems II: Paving A Way Forward

The Court of Justice of the European Union’s recent decision in the “Schrems II’ case was one of the most highly anticipated decisions in the world of data privacy, striking down the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, but upholding the validity of standard contractual clauses. Tune in to the first episode of Covington’s Inside Privacy Audiocast, where … Continue Reading

AI Update: EU High-Level Working Group Publishes Self Assessment for Trustworthy AI

On July 17, 2020, the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence set up by the European Commission (“AI HLEG”) published The Assessment List for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence (“Assessment List”). The purpose of the Assessment List is to help companies identify the risks of AI systems they develop, deploy or procure, and implement appropriate measures to … Continue Reading

EU’s Highest Court Strikes Down Privacy Shield But Upholds Other Key International Data Transfer Mechanism

Today, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a landmark decision striking down the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield—an agreement between EU and U.S. authorities authorizing transfers of EU personal data to the United States—but upholding the validity of standard contractual clauses (“SCCs”), another mechanism that EU-based organizations use to transfer data internationally. Covington represents … Continue Reading

European Commission Publishes 2-Year Report on the Implementation of the GDPR

On June 24, 2020, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its much-anticipated assessment of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) two years after it went into effect.  The assessment takes into account contributions from the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”), individual supervisory authorities, the Multi-Stakeholder Expert Group and other … Continue Reading

Belgian SA Decision on Lodging GDPR Complaints

On June 8, 2020, the Belgian Supervisory Authority (“SA”) fined a (then ex-) politician €5,000 for sending political marketing materials without an appropriate legal basis.  Although the fine was not massive, the case is interesting for another reason: the complaint was brought not by the individuals who received the marketing materials, but by their employer. … Continue Reading

Belgian Supervisory Authority’s GDPR Track Record So Far

On May 25, 2020, the second anniversary of the GDPR, the Belgian Supervisory Authority (“SA”) released an overview of its first full year of activity (available in French here, and in Dutch here).  To be clear, this was not a delay in reporting, but rather shows that the Belgian legislature was late in creating its … Continue Reading

German Federal Supreme Court Issued Cookie Decision in Planet 49 Case

On May 28, 2020, the German Federal Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Planet 49 case regarding the consent requirements for the use of cookies. The decision follows the Court of Justice of the European Union’s preliminary ruling of September 10, 2019. The decision has not yet been published, but the court has … Continue Reading

European Data Protection Board Issues Guidelines on Processing Personal Data for Scientific Research Related to COVID-19

On April 21, 2020, the European Data Protection Board (“Board”) issued guidelines on the processing of personal data for scientific research related to COVID-19.  The Board indicates that the GDPR takes into account the needs of scientific research and should not be a barrier to conduct such research, while at the same time, it helps … Continue Reading

French Supervisory Authority Launches Public Consultation on the Digital Rights of Minors

On April 21, 2020, the French Supervisory Authority (“CNIL”) launched a public consultation on the rights of minors in the digital services. The consultation is open until June 1, 2020.  The CNIL will use the contributions it receives to prepare recommendations in this area. Under the French Data Protection Law, minors over 15 years old … Continue Reading

EDPB Issues New Guidance on the Use of Location Data and Contact Tracing in the Context of the COVID-19 Outbreak

As we anticipated in a previous blog post, on April 22, 2020, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) issued new guidelines on the use of location data and contact tracing apps in the context of the present COVID-19 pandemic. The EDPB’s new guidelines complement and build on similar guidance previously issued by the Board itself … Continue Reading

EU Commission Releases Guidance on COVID-19 Apps

On 8 April 2020, the European Commission adopted a recommendation on a common European Union toolbox for the use of technology and data to address the COVID-19 crisis (“Recommendation”).  The Recommendation responds to calls for a common EU approach to the use of mobile apps in combatting COVID-19—one that improves the efficacy of the technology … Continue Reading

New German Legislation Facilitates Scientific Research in the Health Sector

On March 28, 2020, the “Federal Act for the Protection of the Population against an Epidemic of National Significance” (Bevölkerungsschutzgesetz) went into effect.  The law forms part of an emergency legislative package introduced by the German government in response to COVID-19. The law amends the Social Code V (SGB V) by introducing a new provision … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Apps and Websites – The “Pan-European Privacy Preserving Proximity Tracing Initiative” and Guidance by Supervisory Authorities

Pan-European Privacy Preserving Proximity Tracing Initiative According to media sources, an EU consortium led by Germany’s Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute for telecoms (HHI) will soon release software code that can be used to create apps that will help track transmission chains of COVID-19.  The Pan-European Privacy Preserving Proximity Tracing (“PEPP-PT”) project comprises more than 130 … Continue Reading

Dutch Supervisory Authority Investigates Connected Cars

On March 24, 2020, the Dutch Supervisory Authority (“SA”) announced the launch of a broad investigation into automobile manufacturers, to determine whether any violations of data protection laws have occurred in relation to connected cars. The Dutch SA sent a questionnaire to all Netherlands-based car and truck manufacturers, asking what types of personal data they … Continue Reading

COVID-19, Scientific Research and the GDPR – Some Basic Principles

As scientists work around the clock to gain insights into the Corona virus and how to fight it, public and private-sector stakeholders are in discussions to promote the rapid exchange of scientific data. During these discussions, the GDPR acronym inevitably rears its head and casts doubt over what is lawful. The GDPR and national data … Continue Reading
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