In the Queen’s Speech on 10 May 2022, the UK Government set out its legislative programme for the months ahead. This includes: reforms to UK data protection laws (no details yet); confirmation that the government will strengthen cybersecurity obligations for connected products and make it easier for telecoms providers to improve the UK’s digital infrastructure; and new rules to enable the use of self-driving cars on public roads. In addition, the government confirmed its plans to move forward with the Online Safety Bill. As part of the government’s broader agenda to “level up” the UK and provide a post-Brexit economic dividend, many of the legislative initiatives referenced in the Queen’s Speech are presented as seeking to encourage greater use of data and technology to support innovation and enable growth.

We summarize below the key digital policy announcements in the Queen’s Speech and how they fit into wider developments in the UK’s regulatory landscape.

Continue Reading UK Privacy and Digital Policy & Legislative Roundup

Nine million texts are sent daily in Ireland, a huge increase on when the first text was sent in 1992.  All are subject to the data retention and access regime currently in place under the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011.  That regime has now been given the kiss of death by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in its recent decision on a referral by the Irish Supreme Court dealing with the validity of electronic communications evidence collected under it.

The legislation, brought in to transpose EU Directive 2006/24, regulates the retention of data by electronic communications providers and access to that data by state authorities.

Continue Reading CJEU Strikes Down Metadata Collection in Irish Criminal Case

The Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC”), having last month released its annual report (see our blog post here), has now also issued two additional reports detailing statistics on its handling of cross-border cases (see here) and a recently completed Resource Allocation Audit conducted by independent consultants (see here).  Each is important in its own right for the reputation and development of this regulator, the lead EU supervisory authority for many of the large technology companies.

Continue Reading Irish DPC Reports on Cross-Border Activity and Resources

A California federal district court recently granted partial dismissal of privacy claims brought by several Google users in Rodriguez v. Google, LLC, No. 20-cv-5688 (N.D. Cal.).  The Rodriguez plaintiffs claimed that Google engaged in unlawful wiretapping under section 631 of the California Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”) by collecting data from third-party apps after users turned off certain data tracking in their Google privacy settings; they also claimed that Google breached a unilateral contract they had formed by selecting those privacy settings.  The court disagreed, and dismissed these two claims without leave to amend.
Continue Reading Court Grants Dismissal of Wiretapping and Contract Claims in Putative Privacy Class Action Involving Google Privacy Settings

In a new post on the Inside Class Actions blog, our colleagues discuss a recent Western District of New York report and recommendation concluding that any risk of identity theft or other injury was too “speculative” to show standing in the putative data breach class action Tassmer et al v. Professional Business Systems

Consumer Law Developments

Over the past 5 years, the EU has launched several legislative initiatives aimed at revamping EU consumers protection laws.  One such initiative was the “New Deal for Consumers” adopted by the European Commission on April 11, 2018.  The New Deal for Consumers amends existing EU consumer legislation in order to, on the

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently issued its first comprehensive national data protection law.  The Personal Data Protection Law will enter into force on March 23, 2022 and regulates the collection, processing and use of personal data in the Kingdom.

Organizations with operations in the Kingdom or those processing data of Saudi residents will have one year to comply with the new requirements.

Continue Reading Saudi Arabia Issues New Personal Data Protection Law

On December 2, 2021, the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) announced the issuance of Security Directive 1580-21-01, Enhancing Rail Cybersecurity, and Security Directive 1582-21-01, Enhancing Public Transportation and Passenger Railroad Cybersecurity (the “December Security Directives”), and “additional guidance for voluntary measures to strengthen cybersecurity across the transportation sector in response to the ongoing cybersecurity threat to surface transportation systems and associated infrastructure.”  TSA’s announcement clarifies that these actions are “among several steps DHS is taking to increase the cybersecurity of U.S. critical infrastructure.”

The December Security Directives, which become effective on December 31, 2021, impose significant requirements on owners and operators of “higher-risk freight railroads, passenger rail, and rail transit.”  TSA’s announcement also explained that it has extended certain requirements of the December Security Directives to airport and airline operators and has recommended that “all other lower-risk surface transportation owners and operators voluntarily implement” the requirements of the December Security Directives.
Continue Reading TSA Imposes New Cybersecurity Requirements for Rail and Air Sectors

On Episode 16 of Covington’s Inside Privacy Audiocast, Dan CooperYan Luo and Zhijing Yu discuss the implications of China’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) for companies with data or doing business in China. The law, which entered into force on November 1, is the first comprehensive personal information protection law in China and

Date: October 29, 2021

In Case You Missed It: EU Privacy, Data and Consumer Legislative Updates of the Past Month

Date Tag News Link to Source
October 29 Cybersecurity The European Commission announced that it adopted a delegate act to the Radio Equipment Directive (Directive (EU) 2014/53).  This act sets out measures to (1) improve