There has been a substantial increase in the use of the Internet across the African continent, aided by ongoing investment into local digital infrastructure, reduction in the associated costs, and improved user access. This has allowed both individuals, and private and public entities, the ability to access, collect, process and/or disseminate personal data more easily,
Daniel Cooper is co-chair of Covington’s Data Privacy and Cyber Security Practice, and advises clients on information technology regulatory and policy issues, particularly data protection, consumer protection, AI, and data security matters. He has over 20 years of experience in the field, representing clients in regulatory proceedings before privacy authorities in Europe and counseling them on their global compliance and government affairs strategies. Dan regularly lectures on the topic, and was instrumental in drafting the privacy standards applied in professional sport.
According to Chambers UK, his "level of expertise is second to none, but it's also equally paired with a keen understanding of our business and direction." It was noted that "he is very good at calibrating and helping to gauge risk."
Dan is qualified to practice law in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Belgium. He has also been appointed to the advisory and expert boards of privacy NGOs and agencies, such as Privacy International and the European security agency, ENISA.
Final Countdown to POPIA Compliance: Five Critical Steps to Take Before July 1st, 2021
In Episode 12 of our Inside Privacy Audiocast, together with special guest Advocate Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Information Regulator of South Africa, we discussed the Information Regulator’s mandate and the implementation of data protection legislation in South Africa. Now, with less than a month to go before South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (“POPIA”) takes full effect on July 1, 2021, it is critical for organizations operating in South Africa to ensure that they are ready, if and when the Information Regulator comes knocking.
It is only when organizations start their POPIA journey that they realize just how wide the POPIA net is cast, and that very few businesses fall outside of its reach. The road to POPIA compliance should be viewed as a marathon, and not a sprint. While implementing and maintaining an effective POPIA compliance program will take continued effort and resources well beyond the July 1, 2021 go-live date, here we outline five steps to which companies subject to POPIA should give their attention in the short term.…
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European Commission Publishes Draft UK Adequacy Decisions
On February 19, 2021, the European Commission published two draft decisions finding that UK law provides an adequate level of protection for personal data. The first would allow private companies in the EU to continue to transfer personal data to the UK without the need for any additional safeguards (e.g., the Commission’s standard contractual clauses), while the second would allow EU law enforcement agencies to transfers personal data subject to Directive 2016/680 — the Data Protection and Law Enforcement Directive (LED) — to their UK counterparts.
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European Commission Launches Consultation on Initiative to Fight Child Sexual Abuse
On February 11, 2021, the European Commission launched a public consultation on its initiative to fight child sexual abuse online (the “Initiative”), which aims to impose obligations on online service providers to detect child sexual abuse online and to report it to public authorities. The consultation is part of the data collection activities announced in the Initiative’s inception impact assessment issued in December last year. The consultation runs until April 15, 2021, and the Commission intends to propose the necessary legislation by the end of the second quarter of 2021.
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EU Publishes Proposal For Digital Services Act
On December 15, 2020, the European Commission published its proposed Regulation on a Single Market for Digital Services, more commonly known as the Digital Services Act (“DSA Proposal”). In publishing the Proposal, the Commission noted that its goal was to protect consumers and their fundamental rights online, establish an accountability framework for online services, and foster innovation, growth and competitiveness in the single market. On the same day, the Commission also published its proposal for a Digital Markets Act (“DMA”), which would impose new obligations and restrictions on online services that act as “designated gatekeepers” (see our analysis of the DMA Proposal here).
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AI Update: The European Commission publishes a proposal for a Regulation on European Data Governance (the Data Governance Act)
On 25 November 2020, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on European Data Governance (“Data Governance Act”). The proposed Act aims to facilitate data sharing across the EU and between sectors, and is one of the deliverables included in the European Strategy for Data, adopted in February 2020. (See our previous blog here for a summary of the Commission’s European Strategy for Data.) The press release accompanying the proposed Act states that more specific proposals on European data spaces are expected to follow in 2021, and will be complemented by a Data Act to foster business-to-business and business-to-government data sharing.
The proposed Data Governance Act sets out rules relating to the following:
- Conditions for reuse of public sector data that is subject to existing protections, such as commercial confidentiality, intellectual property, or data protection;
- Obligations on “providers of data sharing services,” defined as entities that provide various types of data intermediary services;
- Introduction of the concept of “data altruism” and the possibility for organisations to register as a “Data Altruism Organisation recognised in the Union”; and
- Establishment of a “European Data Innovation Board,” a new formal expert group chaired by the Commission.
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EDPB adopts recommendations on international data transfers following Schrems II decision
On 11 November 2020, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) issued two draft recommendations relating to the rules on how organizations may lawfully transfer personal data from the EU to countries outside the EU (“third countries”). These draft recommendations, which are non-final and open for public consultation until 30 November 2020, follow the EU Court of Justice (“CJEU”) decision in Case C-311/18 (“Schrems II”). (For a more in-depth summary of the CJEU decision, please see our blog post here and our audiocast here. The EDPB also published on 24 July 2020 FAQs on the Schrems II decision here).
The two recommendations adopted by the EDPB are:
- Recommendations 01/2020 on measures that supplement transfer tools to ensure compliance with the EU level of protection of personal data (“Draft Recommendations on Supplementary Measures”); and
- Recommendations 02/2020 on the European Essential Guarantees for surveillance measures (“Recommendations on EEG”).
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Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation publishes final report on “online targeting”
On February 4, 2020, the United Kingdom’s Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (“DEI”) published its final report on “online targeting” (the “Report”), examining practices used to monitor a person’s online behaviour and subsequently customize their experience. In October 2018, the UK government appointed the DEI, an expert committee that advises the UK government on how to maximize the benefits of new technologies, to explore how data is used in shaping peoples’ online experiences. The Report sets out its findings and recommendations.
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European Parliament Publishes Study on Blockchain and the GDPR
On July 24, 2019, the European Parliament published a study entitled “Blockchain and the General Data Protection Regulation: Can distributed ledgers be squared with European data protection law?” The study explores the tension between blockchain technology and compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”), the EU’s data protection law. The study also explores how blockchain technology can be used as a tool to assist with GDPR compliance. Finally, it recommends the adoption of certain policies to address the tension between blockchain and the GDPR, to ensure that “innovation is not stifled and remains responsible”. This blog post highlights some of the key findings in the study and provides a summary of the recommended policy options.
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CJEU rules that Facebook and website operators are joint controllers if the website embeds Facebook’s “Like” button
On July 29, 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) handed down its judgment in the Fashion ID case (Case C-40/17). The CJEU found that when a website operator embeds Facebook’s “Like” button on its website, Facebook and the website operator become joint controllers. The case clarifies the relationship between website operators and social networking sites whose plug-ins are embedded into websites for user tracking and online marketing purposes. The ruling is expected to influence the contractual terms that companies will need to have in place when embedding such social plug-ins to their websites, and may also have ramifications for adtech practices more generally.
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