On November 22, 2022, the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) issued its judgment in joint cases C‑37/20 and C‑601/20, holding that provisions of an EU anti-money laundering directive relating to the publication of beneficial ownership registers was incompatible with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (“CFR”). The Court found that while deterring money laundering was a valid objective, making data available to the general public was neither a necessary nor proportionate way to achieve this objective, so contravened the CFR. The judgment demonstrates the Court’s view that sharing a person’s personal data with a third party is a serious intrusion, and that the Court will carefully scrutinize any such sharing.

Although the case concerned the CFR, it sheds light on how the Court approaches similar principles that apply in other contexts, including in the context of the GDPR.

Continue Reading CJEU Invalidates Public Anti-Money Laundering Registers on Privacy Grounds

On October 6, 2022, the Advocate General (“AG”) of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) released an opinion in case C-300/21 to the effect that a controller or processor’s non-compliance with the GDPR does not automatically entitle data subjects to receive compensation for non-material damages pursuant to Article 82 GDPR.  According to the AG, compensation is meant to remedy the consequences caused by a breach of the GDPR, and therefore a data subject must have suffered damage that he or she can affirmatively demonstrate.

Continue Reading CJEU Advocate General Issues Opinion on Non-Material Damages for GDPR Breach

On September 8, 2022, the Advocate General (“AG”) of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) opined that data subjects should be able to lodge a complaint with a Supervisory Authority against a controller/processor for allegedly breaching the GDPR and, in parallel, lodge judicial redress proceedings against the same controller/processor for damages resulting from the alleged GDPR violation.

The case that was referred to the CJEU relates to a shareholder’s request to access audio recordings of a company meeting.  The company provided the shareholder only with extracts of his/her interventions.  Subsequently, the shareholder filed a complaint with the Hungarian Supervisory Authority for a breach of his/her right of access and asking the Supervisory Authority to order the company to disclose additional recordings.  The Supervisory Authority rejected the complaint.  As a result, the shareholder appealed the Supervisory Authority’s decision before a court and in parallel initiated separate judicial proceedings against the company asking for remedies for damages suffered.

Continue Reading CJEU Advocate General Finds That Data Subjects May in Parallel Lodge a Complaint with a Supervisory Authority and Start Proceedings Before a Court

On June 21, 2022, the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) decided that that the Passenger Name Record (“PNR”) Directive’s provisions providing for  the processing of PNR data by competent Member State authorities are compatible with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (“Charter”).  However, the CJEU also decided that the PNR Directive limits the way in which Member State laws transpose some of its provisions, particularly in relation to the collection of passenger information for intra-EU flights.  Its decision will require Belgium to amend its law transposing the PNR Directive, mainly in relation to the PNR data competent authorities may receive and how they can process this data.  It is likely to indirectly impact air carriers and tour operators operating in Belgium, as it will reduce the amount of data they need to share with competent authorities under such a revised legal framework.

The CJEU decision also considers, as well, Member State laws transposing (1) the Council Directive 2004/82/EC on the obligation of carriers to communicate passenger data (API Directive) and (2) Directive 2010/65/EU on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States.

The case was lodged on October 31, 2019, by the non-profit organization Ligue des Droits Humainsbefore the Belgian courts in relation to the Belgian law transposing the PNR and API Directives.  The Belgian Constitutional Court referred certain questions to the CJEU.

Continue Reading Court of Justice of the EU Decides that the Passenger Name Record Directive is Compatible with EU Law

On November 26, 2021, the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) held in Case C-102/20 that the display of advertising messages in an electronic inbox in a form similar to that of an actual email constitutes direct marketing, and therefore is subject to EU Member States’ rules on direct marketing (see press release here

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 September 10, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU“) issued its decision in the Planet 49 case.  The case centers on the consent requirements for the use of cookies.

Planet49 GmbH offered an online lottery service for which interested users had to register.  The registration form asked users to tick a

On September 24, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) adopted a decision on the geographical scope of the right to erasure under the GDPR (decision available here).  The court decided, in line with the opinion of Advocate General Szpunar, that a US-based search engine does not have to remove (de-reference) search results displayed on all the search engine’s versions.  According to the court, it suffices for search results to be deleted from the search engine’s EU versions (i.e., EU domain name extensions, such as .eu, .fr or .de).  For more information on the Advocate General’s opinion, see our prior blog post here.

Continue Reading GDPR’s right to be forgotten limited to EU websites

On March 21, 2019, Advocate General Szpunar released his opinion in the Planet49 case, currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).  The case centers on the use of consent for the processing of personal data and consent for the use of cookies.

Planet49 GmbH offered an online lottery service for

On January 14, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) decided that video recordings of police officers in the exercise of their duties and the uploading of such videos on YouTube may constitute “journalistic activities” in the meaning of the journalism exception of the EU Data Protection Directive (“Directive”) (available here).