Contributor: Christopher Kuner

Christopher Kuner is Senior of Counsel in the Brussels office of Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati and is Honorary Fellow of the Centre for European Legal Studies, University of Cambridge, where he also teaches. His books European Data Protection Law: Corporate Compliance and Regulation (2007) and Transborder Data Flows and Data Privacy Law (2013) are both published by Oxford University Press. He is editor-in-chief of the journal International Data Privacy Law and co-chair of the Task Force on Privacy and Data Protection of the International Chamber of Commerce and has 20 years’ experience working in EU data protection law. He holds a PhD in data protection law from Tilburg University (the Netherlands), and law degrees from New York University and Notre Dame Law School.

Opinion

European Court Gives a Boost to EU Data Protection Reform

By Christopher Kuner

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.

The Data Retention Directive is designed to harmonise the legislation of EU member states...

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Opinion

The Global Competition Between Privacy Models

By Christopher Kuner

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,...

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Opinion

The Baffling Case of the Headless EDPS

By Christopher Kuner
Peter Hustinx (right) reflects on a career in privacy, with Christopher Kuner, before a standing-room crowd at the IAPP Data Protection Congress 2013 in Brussels.

After working in Brussels for the last 15 years, I have become accustomed to the byzantine machinations of European politics. But the spectacle that is currently unfolding concerning appointment of a new European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and Assistant Supervisor paints a particularly dismal picture of how data protection in the EU can become a political football.

The office of the EDPS,...

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Opinion

Legal Reform Is Needed on Both Sides of the Atlantic, Not Just in Europe

By Christopher Kuner

I recall that in the 1990s and early 2000s, it was often a struggle to get people outside of Europe to take EU data protection law seriously. The perceived lack of enforcement in the EU, and the dynamic legislative climate in the U.S., meant that more attention was given to U.S. developments.

The situation is now reversed, and there has been intense interest in the European Commission’s proposal...

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Opinion

Parallel Privacy Universes and PRISM

By Christopher Kuner

The U.S. and Europe seem locked in their own separate, parallel universes in the way they view PRISM and other recent revelations concerning law enforcement data access, as demonstrated by differences in transatlantic media coverage.

Here in Europe, discussion of law enforcement surveillance of electronic communications has dominated the major news media for the last few weeks. By contrast,...

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Opinion

The Transatlantic Divide Over Data Privacy Rights

By Christopher Kuner

The following exchange occurred during a conversation between a representative of a U.S. technology company and a European data protection authority (DPA):

Company representative: Your data protection law is making it impossible for us to offer our technology in Europe!

DPA: It is your technology that has to adapt to our legal system, not the other way around!

The question of whether legal...

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Opinion

Where Is the Regulation of Transborder Data Flows Headed?

By Christopher Kuner

Anyone working in privacy and data protection law is familiar with the restrictions on transferring data outside the European Union contained in the EU Data Protection Directive. But did you know that non-EU countries as diverse as Israel, Mexico, Russia and South Korea have similar restrictions? And that since the 1970s, over 70 countries all over the world have enacted data protection and...

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opinion

“You Just Don’t Understand”: The Current EU–U.S. Privacy Battles

By Christopher Kuner

For someone who has received his legal education in both the EU and the U.S., and has long worked in both worlds, the current political skirmishes between the two concerning the proposed EU data protection reform have been both entertaining and disappointing. Entertaining, since observing the two largest political and economic entities in Western world engage in a game of one-upmanship over which...

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