The leadership of Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (“DPC”) is to be expanded to a three-person Commission, with the current Commissioner taking the lead role as Chair.  The Irish Minister for Justice announced the decision on July 27, 2022, along with the Government’s decision to undertake a review of its governance structures, staffing arrangements and processes for the newly modeled Commission.

Continue Reading Ireland Expands Leadership Structure of Data Protection Commission

On July 21, 2022, the Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”) – the country’s primary regulator for cybersecurity and privacy – imposed a fine of RMB 8.026 billion (around $1.2 billion USD) on China’s largest ride-hailing company for violating data protection laws, including the Cybersecurity Law, Data Security Law and Personal Information Protection Law. 

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

On February 24, 2022, the Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC”) published its 2021 annual report setting out its activities and outcomes for last year (see press release here and the full report here).  At 120 pages long, it is detailed and specific, and in places, comes with a targeted and reflective commentary.  Overall, it provides readers with useful insights into the work of a supervisory authority at the forefront of Europe’s data protection whirlwinds.

Continue Reading Irish Data Protection Commission Publishes 2021 Annual Report

On Jul 22, 2021, the Irish Joint Committee on Justice (“Committee“) published a report that included a series of recommendations on the work of the Irish Data Protection Commission (“DPC“).  The Committee, made up of 14 politicians from across the political spectrum and drawn from both the Dáil (the elected first house) and Seanad (the senate), issued this report following a public hearing held on April 27, 2021 (see our prior blog post here).  The recommendations in the report address, among other things, concerns raised about the Irish DPC’s oversight and enforcement of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR“).

Continue Reading Ireland’s Joint Committee on Justice Publishes Recommendations to Reform the Irish Data Protection Commission

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

On June 24, 2020, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its much-anticipated assessment of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) two years after it went into effect.  The assessment takes into account contributions from the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”), individual supervisory authorities, the Multi-Stakeholder Expert Group and other stakeholders.  The assessment considers a wider scope of issues surrounding GDPR implementation beyond international transfers and the cooperation and consistency mechanisms, the two topics the Commission is specifically tasked to consider under Article 97 of the GDPR.

The Commission’s overall conclusion is that the GDPR has successfully achieved its objectives of enhancing the protection of personal data and improving the free flow of personal data within the EU.  The Commission specifically highlights the key role that the GDPR plays in the EU’s “human-centric approach to technology,” and notes that it will serve as a guiding legal framework for the EU as it rolls out its broader Data Strategy.  The Commission also notes the impact that the GDPR has had worldwide, inspiring new or elevated standards for data protection in many countries, and serving as a “global standard-setter” for regulating the digital economy.

Notwithstanding these achievements, the Commission also makes clear that there are a number of areas for improvement.

Continue Reading European Commission Publishes 2-Year Report on the Implementation of the GDPR

On June 8, 2020, the Belgian Supervisory Authority (“SA”) fined a (then ex-) politician €5,000 for sending political marketing materials without an appropriate legal basis.  Although the fine was not massive, the case is interesting for another reason: the complaint was brought not by the individuals who received the marketing materials, but by their employer.

According to the SA, the politician exploited the employee list of a local Commune to identify recipients to whom the marketing materials would be sent.  It is not clear how the politician obtained the list.  When the Commune discovered that the list had been leaked, it notified a security breach to the SA and, at the same time, lodged a complaint against the politician.

Continue Reading Belgian SA Decision on Lodging GDPR Complaints

On December 17, 2019, the Belgian Supervisory Authority (“SA”) imposed a fine of € 15,000 on an SME operating a legal information website that welcomes approximately 35,000 unique visitors a month.  Interestingly, in the apparent absence of any actual complaints submitted to the SA, it carried out this enforcement action on its own initiative.

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