European Union

On March 7, 2023, the Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC”) published its annual report for 2022. The report reflects the DPC’s reputation as both an active enforcer of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and a contributor to policy development at national and EU levels.  The level of interaction between the DPC and the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) is particularly significant with more than 300 meetings reported for 2022 (averaging at more than 25 per month), many of which involved participation in the EDPB’s expert subgroups.

Continue Reading Key Takeaways from the Irish DPC’s 2022 Annual Report

On February 22, 2023, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) released its Work Program for 2023-2024 (“the Program”), outlining the key priority areas for the next two years.  The Program is divided into four pillars, which largely reflect the priorities already set out in its Strategy 2021-2023.

Continue Reading EDPB Releases its 2023-2024 Work Program

On February 3, 2023, the German Data Protection Conference (“Datenschutzkonferenz”, “DSK”) published its decision, dated January 31, 2023, on the data protection assessment of access possibilities for third country public authorities to personal data processed by an EU/EEA-based subsidiary of a third country-based parent company pursuant to Article 28 of the General Data Protection

2023 is set to be an important year for developments in AI regulation and policy in the EU. At the end of last year, on December 6, 2022, the Council of the EU (the “Council”) adopted its general approach and compromise text on the proposed Regulation Laying Down Harmonized Rules on Artificial Intelligence (the “AI Act”), bringing the AI Act one step closer to being adopted. The European Parliament is currently developing its own position on the AI Act which is expected to be finalized by March 2023. Following this, the Council, Parliament and European Commission (“Commission”) will enter into trilogue discussions to finalize the Act. Once adopted, it will be directly applicable across all EU Member States and its obligations are likely to apply three years after the AI Act’s entry into force (according to the Council’s compromise text).  

In 2022, the Commission also put forward new liability rules for AI systems via the proposed AI Liability Directive (“AILD”) and updates to the Product Liability Directive (“PLD”). The AILD establishes rules for non-contractual, fault-based civil claims involving AI systems. Specifically, the proposal establishes rules that would govern the preservation and disclosure of evidence in cases involving high-risk AI, as well as rules on the burden of proof and corresponding rebuttable presumptions. Meanwhile, the revised PLD harmonizes rules that apply to no-fault liability claims brought by persons who suffer physical injury or damage to property caused by defective products. Software, including AI systems, are explicitly named as “products” under the proposal meaning that an injured person can claim compensation for damage caused by AI (see our previous blog post for further details on the proposed AILD and PLD). Both pieces of legislation will be reviewed, and potentially amended, by the Council and the European Parliament in 2023.

Continue Reading EU AI Policy and Regulation: What to look out for in 2023

On January 18, 2023, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) published a report setting out the common positions of the EDPB and EEA member state supervisory authorities (“SAs”) with respect to interpreting the EU rules applying to cookies. SAs will take these common positions into account when handling cookie complaints.

The report was drafted by the EDPB’s Cookie Banner Taskforce (“Taskforce”), which is composed of the EDPB and 18 SAs. However, the report does not have the same interpretative value as EDPB guidance. Moreover, SAs will not take into account the positions mentioned in the report in isolation – they will also take into account additional national requirements stemming from the national laws transposing the ePrivacy Directive and SAs’ national guidance.

Continue Reading EDPB Publishes Report of Cookie Banners Taskforce

On Episode 20 of Covington’s Inside Privacy Audiocast, Dan Cooper, Co-Chair of Covington’s Data Privacy and Cyber Security practice, and Christian Ahlborn, Partner in Covington’s Competition practice, discuss the recently enacted EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the first part of our “Competition and Privacy” mini series.

For more information on the DMA

At the beginning of a new year, we are looking ahead to five key technology trends in the EMEA region that are likely to impact businesses in 2023.

Continue Reading Top Five EMEA Technology Trends to Watch in 2023

The new EU-wide cyber law, Directive 2022/2555 (NIS2), entered into force on Monday, January 16, 2023. NIS2 builds on the original NIS Directive but significantly expands the categories of organizations that fall within the scope of the law, imposes new and more granular security and incident reporting rules, and creates a stricter enforcement regime. Member states now have until October 18, 2024 to transpose the new directive into their respective national laws.

The passage of NIS2 sets the stage for 2023 to be another big year for cybersecurity in Europe. We expect the global cyber threat landscape to remain challenging and the regulatory landscape to become even more complex due to a raft of new laws including the Cyber Resilience Act (which we covered here), the Critical Entities Resilience Directive (see our post here), the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) (focused on financial services), and the UK’s ongoing reforms to its Network and Information Systems Regulations.

In this blog post, we summarize the key elements of NIS2 and describe what they will mean for your cybersecurity program this year.

Continue Reading New EU Cyber Law “NIS2” Enters Into Force

On January 12, 2023, the Court of Justice of the EU (“Court”) decided that the GDPR’s right of access gives a data subject the choice between asking a controller for (i) the identity of each data recipient to whom the controller will or has disclosed the data subject’s personal data or (ii) only the categories of data recipients.  The controller must comply with the data subject’s request, unless it is impossible to identify those recipients (e.g., because they are not yet known) or the controller demonstrates that the data subject’s access request is “manifestly unfounded or excessive.”

Continue Reading Court of Justice of the EU Decides that GDPR Right of Access Allows Data Subjects to Request the Identity of Each Data Recipient

In 2022, the European Union announced the creation of Digital Partnerships with three Asian countries: Japan, South Korea and Singapore. This is in line with the EU’s Digital Compass strategy which seeks to make the European Union the most connected continent by 2030. The European Commission is expanding its connections between Europe and the rest of the world to address the digital divide and further develop a sustainable digital economy with trusted partners.

Below we set out the key points from the Digital Partnerships that the European Commission has announced with Japan, South Korea and Singapore, respectively.

Continue Reading EU Digital Partnerships with Asia: A New Path Towards Enhanced Digital Collaboration and Opportunities