On 1 April 2020, the UK Supreme Court handed down its ruling in WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants [2020] UKSC 12.  The Court ruled that Morrisons was not vicariously liable for a data breach deliberately perpetrated by an employee.  The judgment is significant in that it overturned the decisions of the two lower courts (the High Court and Court of Appeal) and provides guidance for employers on when they may be held vicariously liable for data breaches and other violations of the GDPR involving employees, who act as independent controllers in their own right.

Continue Reading UK Supreme Court Rules That Supermarket Is Not Vicariously Liable For Data Breach Committed By Employee

On January 27, 2020, the French Supervisory Authority (“CNIL”) issued a guidance for developers of websites and applications which sets out the main principles of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), expounds on their application in the online environment, and gives practical tips to help developers respect users’ privacy when deploying websites and apps.

The guidance consists of 17 recommendations, each covering a key principle supported by additional advice and examples.  Below, we list all 17 of these recommendations and provide a brief summary of the CNIL’s advice related to each.


Continue Reading French Supervisory Authority Publishes Guidance for Website and App Developers

Germany recently enacted a law that enables state health insurance schemes to reimburse costs related to the use of digital health applications (“health apps”), but the law requires the Federal Ministry of Health to first develop the reimbursement process for such apps.  Accordingly, on January 15, 2020, the German government published a draft regulation setting

While some state legislators are still putting away their holiday decorations, New Hampshire legislators introduced new data privacy legislation, New Hampshire House Bill 1680.  The legislation is similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act (which we’ve written extensively about before, including here and here).  It grants consumers access, portability, transparency, non-discrimination, deletion, and opt-out-of-sale rights (or opt-into-sale rights for minor consumers) with respect to their personal information.

Notably, NH HB 1680 does not reflect several of the amendments which partially mitigated the constitutional and operational concerns raised by the CCPA.  For example, it regulates as personal information all information  “capable” of being associated with a consumer or household, whereas California’s definition is now tied to information “reasonably capable” of being associated with a consumer or household.  The NH legislation retains limitations on the scope of publicly available information that is excluded from the definition of personal information.  By way of other examples, NH HB 1680 does not provide exceptions for employment or business-to-business related data.
Continue Reading State Legislatures Are Off to the Privacy Races, With New Hampshire in the Lead

On December 9, 2019, the German Federal Data Protection Supervisory Authority (BfDI) imposed a 9.55 million Euro fine on the telecommunications company 1&1 Telecom GmbH.  The BfDI found that the authentication procedures used by 1&1’s customer helpline were insufficient and failed to satisfy the requirements of Art. 32 GDPR.  The company announced that it will

Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) released a set of cyber readiness recommendations for small businesses.  The recommendations, which CISA developed in collaboration with small businesses and state and local governments, are intended to assist smaller organizations in implementing organizational cybersecurity practices.  While not binding requirements, the recommendations may inform what CISA and U.S. regulators view as “reasonable” cybersecurity practices.

Continue Reading CISA Releases Cyber Readiness Recommendations for Small Business

Over the past several months, many states, including Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington, have passed significant amendments to their state data breach notification laws.  Currently, most state data breach notification laws only require notification of residents (and possibly state regulators or others) following a “breach” of personally identifiable information (“PII”), which is often defined as a resident’s name along with a Social Security number, driver’s license or state identification card number, or a financial account, debit, or credit card number with any required security code, access code, or password to access a financial account.  Among other changes, these amendments have expanded the categories of PII that may trigger notification obligations if breached, imposed new requirements to notify regulators (in addition to affected individuals) in the event of a breach, and implemented specific timing requirements for how soon after a breach individuals and regulators must be notified.  These changes are summarized in additional detail below.
Continue Reading Round-Up of Recent Changes to U.S. State Data Breach Notification Laws

On July 25, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed two data security and breach notification bills into law.  The first bill, the “Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act” or “SHIELD Act,” will impose specific data security requirements on businesses that own or license private information of New York residents, in addition to amending New York’s data breach notification statute to broaden the circumstances under which notification may be required.  The second bill, meanwhile, will require consumer reporting agencies to offer identity theft prevention and mitigation services.  Both bills are described in further detail below.
Continue Reading New York Passes New Data Security and Breach Notification Requirements

On June 13, 2019, the Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”) issued the draft Measures on Security Assessment of the Cross-border Transfer of Personal Information (“Draft Measures”) for public comment. (The official Chinese version of the Draft Measures is available here, and an unofficial English translation is available here.) The comment period ends on July 13, 2019.

The issuance of the Draft Measures marks another major development in the implementation of China’s Cybersecurity Law (“CSL”) over the past month, aiming to create a cross-border data transfer mechanism that would govern all of the transfers of personal information conducted by network operators (defined as “owners and managers of networks, as well as network service providers”).

CAC has previously released two earlier versions of its draft Measures on Security Assessment of Cross-border Transfer of Personal Information and Important Data back in 2017, which imposed security assessment obligations on network operators when they transfer both personal information and important data outside of China (See Covington’s previous alert here). The latest and long-anticipated Draft Measures only focus on the cross-border transfer of personal information (the cross-border transfer of important data will be subject to a separate approval mechanism introduced by the draft Measures for Data Security Management released by CAC on May 28, 2019) and also set out new requirements that bear resemblance to the Standard Contractual Clauses under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

We discuss the key requirements of the Draft Measures in a greater detail below.


Continue Reading China Seeks Public Comments on Draft Measures related to the Cross-border Transfer of Personal Information

On May 28, 2019, the Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”) released the draft Measures for Data Security Management (“Draft Measures”) for public comment. (An official Chinese version of the Draft Measures is available here and an unofficial English translation is available here.) The comment period ends on June 28, 2019.

The release of these Draft Measures demonstrates China’s continuing efforts to implement the data protection requirements imposed by China’s Cybersecurity Law (“CSL”). For example, under Article 41 of the CSL, network operators must notify individuals of the purposes, methods and scope of the information collection and use, and obtain their consent before collecting or using individuals’ personal information. Furthermore, under Article 42 and 43 of the CSL, network operators must not disclose, tamper with, or damage citizens’ personal information that they have collected, and they are further obligated to delete unlawfully collected information and amend incorrect information.

To implement the CSL, the CAC and the Standardization Administration of China issued a national standard for personal information protection (“Standard”) on January 2, 2018, which took effect on May 1, 2018 (see our previous blog post about that Standard here). A draft amendment to the Standard (“Draft Amendment”) was released for public comment on February 1, 2019 (see our previous blog post about the Draft Amendment here). The new Draft Measures incorporate some of personal information protection requirements specified in the Standard and the Draft Amendment, and also introduce a number of new requirements for the protection of “important data,” which was initially mentioned in Article 21 and 37 of the CSL, but was not defined.


Continue Reading China Releases Draft Measures for Data Security Management