In Episode 12 of our Inside Privacy Audiocast, together with special guest Advocate Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Information Regulator of South Africa, we discussed the Information Regulator’s mandate and the implementation of data protection legislation in South Africa.  Now, with less than a month to go before South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (“POPIA”) takes full effect on July 1, 2021, it is critical for organizations operating in South Africa to ensure that they are ready, if and when the Information Regulator comes knocking.

It is only when organizations start their POPIA journey that they realize just how wide the POPIA net is cast, and that very few businesses fall outside of its reach.  The road to POPIA compliance should be viewed as a marathon, and not a sprint.  While implementing and maintaining an effective POPIA compliance program will take continued effort and resources well beyond the July 1, 2021 go-live date, here we outline five steps to which companies subject to POPIA should give their attention in the short term.


Continue Reading Final Countdown to POPIA Compliance: Five Critical Steps to Take Before July 1st, 2021

In April 2021, the European Commission released its proposed Regulation Laying Down Harmonized Rules on Artificial Intelligence (the “Regulation”), which would establish rules on the development, placing on the market, and use of artificial intelligence systems (“AI systems”) across the EU. The proposal, comprising 85 articles and nine annexes, is part of a wider package of Commission initiatives aimed at positioning the EU as a world leader in trustworthy and ethical AI and technological innovation.

The Commission’s objectives with the Regulation are twofold: to promote the development of AI technologies and harness their potential benefits, while also protecting individuals against potential threats to their health, safety, and fundamental rights posed by AI systems. To that end, the Commission proposal focuses primarily on AI systems identified as “high-risk,” but also prohibits three AI practices and imposes transparency obligations on providers of certain non-high-risk AI systems as well. Notably, it would impose significant administrative costs on high-risk AI systems of around 10 percent of the underlying value, based on compliance, oversight, and verification costs. This blog highlights several key aspects of the proposal.


Continue Reading European Commission Proposes New Artificial Intelligence Regulation

In Part 1 of this blog series (see here), we discussed recent data protection developments in China’s e-commerce sector.  In this post, we discuss recently issued rules aimed at improving data governance in China’s financial sector that could also have data protection implications.  These rules can be categorized as falling into two groups: the first group focuses on general data governance requirements applicable to all financial institutions, and the second group regulates specific types of financial services.

These new rules were published by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (“CBIRC”) and People’s Bank of China (“PBOC”) during the first quarter of 2021, and include:

  • Guidelines for Data Capacity-Building in the Financial Industry (“Guidelines”) (official Chinese version available here);
  • Financial Data Security – Data Life Cycle Security Standard (“Standard”) (official Chinese version available here); and
  • Draft Credit Reporting Management Measures (“Draft Measures”) (official Chinese version available here).

Both the Guidelines and Standard provide detailed criteria for financial institutions on the proper collection, use and protection of “financial data,” while the Draft Measures introduce data-related requirements for licensed credit reporting agencies.  All of these new rules include data security requirements for both personal and non-personal data.


Continue Reading Privacy Updates from China: Proliferation of Sector-Specific Rules As Key Legislation Remains Pending – Part 2: Data Protection in the Financial Sector

On April 27, 2021, the Irish Oireachtas Committee on Justice met in Dublin to consider recent written submissions received criticising the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC).  The meeting was divided into two hour-long meetings with the first meeting devoted to the criticisms of Max Schrems, the Austrian privacy campaigner, and Fred Logue, an Irish data protection lawyer.  The second meeting, the longer of the two, heard from Helen Dixon, the Data Protection Commissioner, and the Irish Council of Civil Liberties.

Ten politicians, including the Chair (a lawyer with data law experience), questioned each of the invitees on what was a limited agenda.  Each participant was limited to a five minute opening statement after which member politicians attending queried them.  Discussion of ongoing cases was not permitted.

The Committee scheduled Mr. Schrems and Ms. Dixon on separate panels, presumably to avoid a repeat of Ms. Dixon’s objection to the previous invitation from the European Parliament’s LIBE Committee proposing to hear from both together at the same hearing.  Each in turn were the key participants in their panel discussions.  Mr. Schrems repeated criticisms he has made previously and Ms. Dixon gave a strong defence of her office.
Continue Reading Irish Parliamentary Committee Hearing Discusses Criticism of the Irish DPC

When China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress (“NPC”), enacted the Cybersecurity Law (“CSL”) in 2017, it set into motion a new era of data governance in China.  Three years later, in 2020, the NPC followed up this landmark act with two other legislative milestones in this space: the draft Data Security Law (“DSL”) (see our blogpost here) and draft Personal Information Protection Law (“PIPL”) (see our client alert here).  Both the PIPL and DSL will be finalized this year.  Taken as a whole, these three laws form an over-arching framework that will govern data protection and cybersecurity in China for years to come.

While the DSL and PIPL have remained in draft form over the past year, the Chinese government has not stood idly by – instead, various Chinese regulators have continued to introduce data- and cyber-related rules in  key sectors.  Many of these sectoral rules do not appear to be primarily focused on data protection or cybersecurity, yet they may indirectly impact the collection, use and processing of personal information in specific sectors.  The rollout of these new rules has not been fully coordinated, and the approaches taken in some cases deviate from the over-arching framework mentioned above.  We expect this divergence to remain, even after the finalization of the PIPL and DSL.  Consequently, China’s data and cyber regime will likely present a complex web of regulatory rules for organizations to navigate – both now and in the years ahead.

In this blog series, we examine several recently-introduced data and cyber rules in the areas of e-commerce, finance, healthcare, and artificial intelligence – all of which are rapidly expanding sectors in China where the collection and use of massive amounts of personal information have given rise to a variety of regulatory concerns.  We will also explain, in the last blogpost of this series, China’s recent push to regulate how mobile applications can collect and process user data.

In our first blogpost of this series, we focus on recent developments in China’s e-commerce sector.


Continue Reading Privacy Updates from China: Proliferation of Sector-Specific Rules As Key Legislation Remains Pending – Part 1: Data Protection in the E-Commerce Sector

On Episode 13 of Covington’s Inside Privacy Audiocast, Dan Cooper is joined by Dotan Hammer, a Partner in the Internet, Cyber & Copyright Group at Pearl Cohen, to discuss recent privacy developments in Israel, including Israel’s data-economy relations with the EU and the U.S.

Covington’s Inside Privacy Audiocast offers insights into topical global privacy

In celebration of data privacy as a human right as part of South Africa’s Human Rights Day 2021, we feature special guest Advocate Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Information Regulator of South Africa on Episode 12 of Covington’s Inside Privacy Audiocast. Together with Dan Cooper and Mosa Mkhize, we discuss the Information Regulator of

On February 18, 2021, the District Court of Berlin overturned a €14.5 million fine that had been imposed on German real estate company Deutsche Wohnen SE.  The Court held that the fine – which was issued by the Berlin Supervisory Authority (“SA”) and had been the second highest fine in Germany so far under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) – failed to satisfy certain rules under German law, and therefore was invalid.

This case raises important questions on the interplay between the GDPR and German law regarding the attribution of regulatory offenses to a company.  In this blog post, we consider this topic in greater depth and how it may eventually be resolved in court.


Continue Reading German Court Overturns GDPR Fine, Raises Legal Questions About Fines Against Companies

In January 2021, the French Supervisory Authority (“CNIL”) published a summary report of contributions it received in response to a public consultation and survey on the digital rights of minors launched in April 2020 (see the press release here and a summary report here, both in French).  Stakeholders who responded to the consultation included companies, professionals dedicated to the legal and educational issues related to children, parents and minors.

Continue Reading French Supervisory Authority Publishes Results of Public Consultation on the Digital Rights of Minors

On February 3, 2021, the Conference of the Supervisory Authorities (“SAs”) of Germany (known as the Datenschutzkonferenz or “DSK”) published minutes from its meetings held in November 2020 (available here, in German).  The minutes include discussions about how the German SAs plan to enforce the recent Schrems II ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”).  Notably, the Berlin SA (coordinator of the DSK’s Schrems II task force) sought consensus to ensure a joint enforcement approach.

Continue Reading German Supervisory Authorities Plan to Circulate Questionnaires on Personal Data Transfers in Wake of Schrems II Decision