Opinion

European Court Gives a Boost to EU Data Protection Reform

On April 8, the Court of Justice of the European Union invalidated the EU Data Retention Directive 2006/24. Beyond its significance for data retention, this judgment has important implications for EU data protection law in general and the proposed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in particular.

More from Christopher Kuner

Opinion

Addressing the Challenges of the Internet of Things: An EU Perspective

By Brian Davidson, CIPP/E

Recent news that smart fridge software was hacked to send out spam is the latest example of the ineluctable opportunities and challenges presented by the Internet of Things (IoT).

The intrusiveness of IoT technologies and their potential to collect unlimited amounts of data on users’ daily habits brings with it serious privacy concerns. As European regulators grapple with the challenges and complexities of formulating a technology-neutral Data Protection Regulation, the difficulties of applying “traditional” concepts such as consent, purpose limitation, transparency, data deletion, accountability and security to the data processing activities carried out by an “Internet-ready” kitchen appliance become readily apparent.

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EU Data Protection

An Honest Recap on Safe Harbor

By Eduardo Ustaran, CIPP/E

The recent vote at the European Parliament—by an overwhelming majority of 544 to 78 members, with 60 abstentions—calling for the immediate suspension of Safe Harbor has sent some powerful shockwaves across the business and legal communities in the EU and beyond. This should not have come as a surprise, given that the European Parliament has been very vocal in this respect for a while, but it is still a chilling reminder of the uncertainty surrounding the scheme—possibly the most widely relied upon mechanism to legitimise data flows between the EU and the U.S.

The big question that remains on the ground is whether EU-based organisations that rely on Safe Harbor as the legal basis for transferring data to either their own corporate group entities or service providers operating in the U.S. are doing the right thing or should be looking for alternatives.

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EU Data Protection

My Dinner with Jan

German Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht

On Wednesday of last week, in Strasbourg, France, the European Parliament overwhelmingly approved a proposal for a sweeping, region-wide Data Protection Regulation, ratifying the work of MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, who almost two years ago began his work as rapporteur for the regulation.

The next evening, on Thursday in Palo Alto, California, I was sitting across the dinner table from Albrecht—who prefers to be called Jan—at an Asian-Fusion restaurant, enjoying a sociable evening for speakers at the next day’s Berkeley Center for Law and Technology (BLCT) annual Silicon Valley Privacy Conference.

More from Christopher Wolf

Opinion

The Global Competition Between Privacy Models

Countries around the world are struggling to decide whether to adopt data protection law based on the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation or to use a U.S. approach to privacy protection. As I observed firsthand during a recent trip to Japan, the result is competition in global data protection policy making, with the European Commission on the one side and the U.S. government on the other side, both lobbying other countries to follow their respective models.

More from Christopher Kuner