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On 17 June 2022, the UK government released its much anticipated response to the consultation on the reform of the UK data protection regime. As part of the UK’s post-Brexit national data strategy, the consultation gathered responses on proposals aimed at reforming the UK’s data protection regime to boost the UK economy. In its response, the UK government has signalled which of the proposals it will be proceeding with and are likely to appear in an upcoming Data Reform Bill.

Overall, these reforms do not overhaul the existing UK data protection compliance regime, which is derived from EU legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation and ePrivacy Directive. Instead, the proposals are incremental and largely modify obligations that organizations will be familiar with under the existing regime. As expected, these reforms are largely business-focused, with an overall aim of reducing compliance burdens faced by businesses of all sizes and facilitating the use (and re-use) of data for research.

Continue Reading UK Government Publishes Its Response on the Reform of the UK Data Protection Regime

On Friday 25 March President Biden and the President of the European Commission jointly announced that they had reached an agreement in principle on a revised trans-Atlantic data flow mechanism.  The timing could not have been better, as I was moderating a panel on “International Data Transfers in 2022 and Beyond” at the Privacy + Security Forum Spring Forum on the same day.

The panel was made up of William Malcolm, Director of Privacy at Google, Vivienne Artz, OBE Chair of the International Regulatory Strategy Group Data Committee, and Joe Jones, Deputy Director International Data Transfers Data Policy Directorate at the UK’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport.  Our plan was to facilitate a discussion focused on recent enforcement actions and statements by data protection authorities in the EU and UK that had highlighted the increasingly complex challenges organizations face in complying with GDPR when transferring personal data out of Europe.  Instead we had a very engaging hour discussing how important data transfers are in a digital economy, noting that at the EU-US summit the discussion of data was second only to discussions of the situation in Ukraine; and that although the EU-US announcement had set Twitter feeds alight, it provided no information as to what the actual agreement was or how it would avoid falling foul of being challenged as Schrems III, IV or V. Finally, we brainstormed some ideas as to the direction or detail that could be contained in the new EU-US agreement and which could really drive change in the regulation of international data flows.

It was clear to all that following the CJEU’s ruling in Schrems II, which invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield and made use of Standard Contractual Clauses more challenging for business, commercial organizations find themselves in the situation in which data transfers are becoming an impediment to business when really they should be the soil of the digital society in which services and societal benefits can grow globally.

Continue Reading International Data Transfers in 2022 and Beyond

GDPRAn interesting article in today’s FT on the need to update the GDPR will not be welcomed by those that toiled with compliance programs, policy updates and the preparation of records of processing less than three years ago.

It is reported that German MEP Axel Voss, a driving force behind the GDPR, recognizes that the GDPR is not sufficiently nuanced for some of today’s challenges including blockchain, facial or voice recognition, text and data mining. The COVID pandemic and the shift to remote working have also created unexpected issues, including the technical challenges of compliance by organizations with a remote  workforce using software that authenticates them for a host of services with a single login or monitors what they do online.
Continue Reading Is the GDPR Outdated and in Need of Replacement?

GDPROn 16 October 2020, in a long-awaited decision, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) finally announced that it has fined British Airways (BA) £20 million for failing to protect the personal and financial details of over 400,000 customers.  The ICO originally announced in July 2019 its intention to fine BA £183 million in respect of a security breach, meaning that the final amount of the fine was over 90% lower than the original suggested amount.  Notwithstanding this, the BA fine is still the largest fine that the ICO has ever issued.
Continue Reading British Airways Fined £20 Million by ICO for Data Breach

Cyber SecurityThe European Court of Justice this morning issued a significant – and fairly surprising – ruling on international data transfers in the Schrems II case. Standard contractual clauses remain valid, but the Privacy Shield is invalid and cannot be relied on to legitimise transfers of personal data from the EEA to the US.
Continue Reading Privacy Shield Invalid but SCCs Survive… What next for international personal data transfers?

lockA landmark group claim for compensation under data protection laws in the UK between employees and employer has failed. The UK’s Supreme Court has held that a rogue employee’s activities were not sufficiently connected with his employment to make Morrison, his employer, vicariously liable for the data protection breach. If it had been held liable Morrison would have been in line to make compensation payments to nearly 10,000 employees.

The case relates to an incident in 2014 and was brought under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), but it is likely that findings would be the same under the GDPR and the UK Data Protection Act 2018.
Continue Reading UK’s Landmark Group Claim for Compensation Under Data Protection Laws – Morrison’s Found Not Vicariously Liable for Actions of Rogue Employee

Uncertainty is the new normal. UK criminal and regulatory enforcement authorities, like the rest of us, are adjusting to unprecedented levels of business disruption.

This short alert provides signposts to the guidance given by key authorities so far about immediate steps they are taking in response to the outbreak and the difficulties it causes.

We

As remote working becomes the new normal for office workers and attention focusing on ensuring colleagues, families and friends are healthy and have enough food and supplies to last any period of isolation, workers may be less attentive to cyber threats and more likely to open official looking COVID-19 related emails. Hackers are looking to

On 8 January 2018, the Information Commissioner launched a public consultation on a Direct Marketing Code of Practice, which she is required by Section 122 of the Data Protection Act 2018 to produce in order to provide practical guidance in relation to the carrying out of direct marketing in accordance with the requirements of the data protection legislation and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR). Accordingly, like the existing ICO Direct Marketing Guidance, which it will supersede, the proposed code sets out the law and provides examples and good practice recommendations. To a significant extent, the draft code replicates the current guidance, which was updated in 2018 to reference the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). When finalized, the Commissioner must take the code into account when considering whether those engaged in personal data processing for “direct marketing purposes” have complied with the GDPR and PECR. The key aspects of the draft code are summarized below, including new guidance on in-app advertising and direct marketing on social media platforms.

Continue Reading UK’s ICO Publishes Draft Direct Marketing Code of Practice

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