The UK’s Information Commissioner (the “ICO”) has recently sent warnings to the UK’s most visited websites to inform them that they may face enforcement action if they do not make changes to their cookie banner to ensure compliance with UK data protection law. For example, some websites warned by the ICO do not provide their user with a fair choice on tracking for personalised advertising. This position aligns with the EU’s stance, noting France (see prior Alert here).Read More
Today, the UK data protection regulator, the ICO, has published guidance to assist employers in responding to data subject access requests (DSARs) from current and former employees. DSARs have become the primary tool for employees attempting to gain leverage against employers during a dispute or grievance process: they can be extremely time-consuming and resource intensive for employers to deal with, and it is a difficult balance to strike between upholding employees’ right of access under the UK GDPR and applying exemptions from disclosure in an appropriate way.
The new guidance covers issues that often occur when employers try to strike this balance, and notably:Read More
The UK government has announced that it intends to consult on a new, post-Brexit data protection regime, potentially moving away from the UK General Data Protection Regulation that currently underpins the UK’s data protection legislation. The Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said, “It means reforming our own data laws so that they’re based on common sense, not box-ticking.”
A public consultation on the new legislation will follow, but it is clear that the United Kingdom must be careful about any changes it makes to its data regime in order to avoid disrupting the EU-UK adequacy decision with EU GDPR awarded just two months ago. The adequacy decision allows personal data from the European Union to flow freely to the United Kingdom (and vice versa), without businesses needing to put any additional paperwork in place. In granting the adequacy decision, the European Union placed particular emphasis on the fact that the United Kingdom was continuing to base its data protection laws on the same EU GDPR rules that had applied when it was a member of the European Union. A European Commission spokesperson commented that the EU will be closely monitoring any developments in UK data laws and noted that: “In case of problematic developments that negatively affect the level of protection found adequate, the adequacy decision can be suspended, terminated or amended, at any time by the Commission.”
It will be interesting to see how far the United Kingdom diverges, particularly as the current trend is that other countries seem to be keen to state that their data protection laws closely follow the EU GDPR.
The UK government also announced that its preferred candidate to be the next Information Commissioner, head of the UK data protection regulator, will be John Edwards, currently in charge of New Zealand’s data regulator, a country that also maintains an EU adequacy decision.
In early June 2021, the European Commission published a new set of standard contractual clauses (SCCs) effective June 27, 2021 for cross-border data transfers and between controllers and processors. The new SCCs cover changes in data protection laws, including the invalidation of the EU-US Privacy Shield and the fallout from the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) Schrems II opinion (regarding US intelligence laws). The new cross-border data transfer SCCs also use a modular approach to allow for more accurate identification of roles and responsibilities of the contracting parties. In terms of timing, organizations may use the old SCCs in new contracts until September 27, 2021, and contracts existing before September 27, 2021 must change to the new SCCs by December 27, 2022. For additional information on the SCCs, read our K&L Gates EU Data Protection Alert here.
Please do not hesitate to contact the K&L Gates LLP Cybersecurity and Privacy team of attorneys if you need assistance updating new or existing contracts with the new SCCs by the above deadlines.
The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined British Airways £20 million, the ICO’s largest fine to date, for failing to protect the personal and financial details of more than 400,000 of its customers.
In a statement published online on 16 October 2020, the ICO stated that its investigation had found that British Airways was “processing a significant amount of personal data without adequate security measures in place”. This failure is said to have breached data protection laws and, subsequently, the airline was the subject of a cyberattack in 2018, which was not detected for more than two months.Read More
After years of political squabble and delays, Brexit day finally arrived on 31 January 2020. But what does it mean when we talk about the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and how will data protection regulation and compliance change?
There will be little change during the transition (also known as “implementation”) period that is expected to end on 31 December 2020. During this period, EU law will continue to apply in the UK, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), after which the GDPR will be converted into UK law.Read More
With the Brexit deadline looming as 31 October 2019, and no finalised deal in place, the prospects of an inconclusive Brexit are growing. Therefore, there remains significant uncertainty as to the actions and preparations of entities who are subject to the unpredictable tides of this political sea. So how should such companies prepare in these circumstances of a foreseeable no-deal? Our colleagues have tackled this challenging question in Volume 1 of The Privacist available at the K&L Gates Hub.
By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Gill
PwC’s UK Privacy & Security Enforcement Tracker has found that fines in the UK over data protection law violations totalled £6.5 million in 2018, a £2 million increase from 2017.
The Tracker analysed data protection enforcement actions by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), including monetary fines, prosecutions and undertakings. The Tracker shows that the total sum of fines increased from 2017, but the number of ICO enforcements fell to 67 in 2018 from 91 in 2017.Read More