South Africa’s Information Regulator (the “Regulator”) issued, on June 22, 2021, a Guidance Note on Exemptions from the Conditions for Lawful Processing of Personal Information (“Guidance Note”), arising under sections 37 and 38 of the Protection of Personal Information Act, 4 of 2013 (“POPIA”).  The purpose of the Guidance Note is to provide guidance to “responsible parties” who: (i) intend to apply for an exemption from one or more of the eight conditions for the lawful processing of personal information, as prescribed by POPIA (section 37 of POPIA), or (ii) may automatically be exempt from some of these conditions where the processing occurs in the performance of a “relevant function” (section 38 of POPIA).  In a media statement, also issued on June 22, 2021, the Regulator confirmed that the June 20, 2021 deadline for responsible parties to register their Information Officers (“IOs”) and Deputy Information Officers (“DIOs”) was postponed indefinitely.
Continue Reading South Africa: Guidance on POPIA Exemptions and Registration of Information Officers

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 March 2, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), becoming the second U.S. state to enact a comprehensive privacy law (Nevada has enacted an online privacy law, albeit with a narrower scope).  As we have previously explained, the VCDPA follows the framework established by the Washington Privacy Act.  We recently compared Virginia’s law against other key state privacy frameworks.
Continue Reading Virginia Enacts Comprehensive Privacy Law

Last month marks two years since the Supreme Court held, in Carpenter v. United States, that the Fourth Amendment applies to cell phone company records that detail a cell phone user’s location and movements.  Under Carpenter, police are generally required to use a warrant to obtain seven days or more of a user’s cell-site location information from phone companies.

As we previously reported, Carpenter redefined how the Fourth Amendment applies to information held by technology companies in the digital age.  Prior to Carpenter, the Court applied the third-party doctrine, under which a person who voluntarily revealed information to third parties—such as telephone companies, banks, or technology companies—lacks a reasonable expectation of privacy in that information and therefore forfeits Fourth Amendment protections.  In Carpenter, the Court declined to apply the third-party doctrine to cell-site location information, even though the cell phone user revealed their location information to their phone company.  Despite the significance of this ruling, the Court said that its decision in Carpenter was a “narrow one” that did not “address other business records that might incidentally reveal location information” or “consider other collection techniques involving foreign affairs or national security.”
Continue Reading Two Years of Carpenter

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 issued a press release.

The court decided that the use of pre-ticked boxes was not a valid form of obtaining consent for cookies before May 24, 2018 and remains an invalid way of obtaining consent under the GDPR. The court’s decision applies the German provisions on cookies in the German Telemedia Act which it interprets in light of the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications (“ePrivacy Directive”).
Continue Reading German Federal Supreme Court Issued Cookie Decision in Planet 49 Case

On March 12, 2020, Washington’s state legislature passed SB 6280, a bill that will regulate state and local government agencies’ use of facial recognition services (“FRS’s”).  The bill aims to create a legal framework by which agencies may use FRS’s to the benefit of society (for example, by assisting agencies in locating missing or deceased persons), but prohibits uses that “threaten our democratic freedoms and put our civil liberties at risk.”
Continue Reading Washington State Passes Bill Limiting Government Use of Facial Recognition

In November 2019, the Council of Europe’s* Committee of Experts on Human Rights of Automated Data Processing and Different Forms of Artificial Intelligence (the “Committee”) finalized its draft recommendations on the human rights impacts of algorithmic systems (the “Draft Recommendations’’).  The Draft Recommendations, which are non-binding, set out guidelines on how the Council of Europe member states should legislate to ensure that public and private sector actors appropriately address human rights issues when designing, developing and deploying algorithmic systems.

Continue Reading Algorithmic Systems and Human Rights: The Council of Europe’s Venture into AI Standard Setting

More than a year after the Government of India’s Committee of Experts released a draft Personal Data Protection Bill in July 2018 (the “2018 draft”), India is one step closer to passing a comprehensive data privacy law.  On December 11, 2019, India’s Minister for Electronics and Information Technology introduced an updated draft of Personal Data Protection Bill (the “Bill”) in the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament. The Bill was referred to a Joint Select Committee composed of parliamentarians from both the lower and upper houses.

The Joint Select Committee is due to report back to the Lok Sabha before the 2020 Budget Session of Parliament, which, although dates have not yet been set, usually runs from February to March.  At that point, the government is likely to table the Bill for discussion in Parliament either in the Budget Session or in the Monsoon session, which usually runs between July and September.

The updated Bill retains the core structure of the previous draft, which closely adheres to the model provided by the GDPR.  There are, however, noteworthy changes in this most recent Bill, including to some of the more controversial features of the 2018 draft, such as data localization requirements and provisions carrying criminal penalties.  The Bill also includes requirements that did not appear in the first draft, such as an enhanced right to erasure, obligations that attach to “anonymous data,” and specific requirements for “social media intermediaries.”  A new requirement for rulemaking by the data protection authority (“DPA”) could provide additional opportunities for public consultation.

Below we summarize the key changes in this most recent draft of the Bill.  To see all the changes from the 2018 draft, please click here.
Continue Reading India Proposes Updated Personal Data Protection Bill

On July 16, 2019, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) released a new draft Data sharing code of practice (“draft Code”), which provides practical guidance for organizations on how to share personal data in a manner that complies with data protection laws.  The draft Code focuses on the sharing of personal data between controllers, with a section referring to other ICO guidance on engaging processors.  The draft Code reiterates a number of legal requirements from the GDPR and DPA, while also including good practice recommendations to encourage compliance. The draft Code is currently open for public consultation until September 9, 2019, and once finalized, it will replace the existing Data sharing code of practice (“existing Code”).

Continue Reading ICO Launches Public Consultation on New Data Sharing Code of Practice

On June 28, 2019, the French Supervisory Authority (CNIL) announced that it will issue new guidelines on the use of cookies for direct marketing purposes.  It will issue these guidelines in two phases.

First, during July 2019, the CNIL will update its guidance issued in 2013 on cookies.  According to the CNIL, the 2013 guidance