Technology

Highest Administrative Court in France Upholds Google’s €50 Million Fine

On January 21, 2019, the CNIL (the French data protection authority) issued a fine of €50 million to Google under the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) for its failure to (1) provide notice in an easily accessible form, using clear language, when users configured their Android mobile device, and (2) obtain users’ consent to process personal data for ad personalization purposes. The CNIL’s enforcement action and resulting fine arose out of actions filed by two not-for-profit associations, None of Your Business and La Quadrature du Net. The fine was the first significant fine imposed by the CNIL under the GDPR and remains one of the highest fines to date. In determining the amount of the fine, the CNIL considered the fact that the violations related to essential principles under the GDPR (transparency and consent), the violations were continuing, the importance of the Android operating system in France, and the fact that the privacy notice presented to users covered a number of processing operations. Google appealed the decision. READ MORE

French Court Annuls Parts of the CNIL’s Cookie Guidelines

On June 19, 2020, the Conseil d’Etat, the highest administrative court in France, annulled in part the cookie guidelines issued by the CNIL (the French data protection authority). The court ruled that the CNIL did not have the power to prohibit “cookie walls” (i.e., the practice of blocking access to a site or app for users who do not consent to the use of cookies) in the guidelines. READ MORE

Parkview Health Decision Highlights Vicarious Data Breach Liability Risk in the United States

A recent decision in Indiana highlights the data security liability risks facing employers based on the actions of their employees, extending vicarious liability even to cases where the employees were acting wholly for personal purposes. In SoderVick v. Parkview Health Sys., Inc., the Court of Appeals of Indiana reversed summary judgment in favor of the defendant, reviving claims of respondeat superior against Parkview Health Systems, Inc. (“Parkview”) where the hospital’s employee texted personal health information to a third party. No. 19A-CT-2671, 2020 WL 2503923 (Ind. Ct. App. May 15, 2020). We recently noted a decision of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in WM Morrison Supermarks plc v. Various Claimants (“Morrison”) where the Court made the contrary determination, ruling that the large supermarket chain Morrison could not be held vicariously liable as a matter of law for the intentional acts of a rogue employee who posted the payroll data of Morrison employees on the Internet. But as we also explained, businesses that collect personal information should be cautious about reading too much into that ruling: while the Court allowed the appeal in favor of Morrison, the decision turned on the particular facts of the case (where the rogue employee actively tried to damage his employer). The Parkview Health decision further underscores this need for caution, especially with increased remote work due to COVID-19 where the risk of employers being sued over security breaches caused by their employees is, unfortunately, ever-increasing. READ MORE

Legislative Update: Privacy Bills Not Immune to COVID-19 As Legislative Efforts Persist and Evolve

Today, we are all facing a public health crisis unlike any other we have seen in our lifetime. In addition to serious consequences to global health, the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant disruption in the legal system and privacy law initiatives have not been immune to the virus’s impact. With many state legislatures nearing or at the end of legislative sessions taken over by pandemic priorities, state privacy bill initiatives across the country are grinding to a halt. However, some lawmakers are pushing forward with targeted proposals to protect individual privacy in the face of COVID-19 and some states, particularly California, continue public and private efforts to bolster privacy in their jurisdiction. Below is a summary of the 2020 privacy legislative efforts to date and the impact COVID-19 has had on their progress. READ MORE

Two Diverging Federal COVID-19 Privacy Bills Proposed

In recent days, Congress has introduced two divergent “emergency” bills to address privacy issues arising during the COVID-19 crisis. While both bills aim to protect personal data collected for the purposes of contact tracing and containing the spread of the illness, the bills – one led by Republicans, the other by Democrats – offer different approaches in key areas, including the scope of entities covered, preemption of state law, and whether to provide a private right of action. Given these differences, it is unlikely either bill will pass in its current form, barring significant concessions from each side of the aisle. Here is a high-level summary of the key points addressed in each bill: READ MORE

EDPB Tears Down Cookie Walls – Implementation of Cookies in Europe Becomes Even More Challenging

On May 4, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”)—an independent body which ensures that the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) is consistently applied within the EU—has updated its guidelines on consent under the GDPR, clarifying its requirements regarding the GDPR compliant use of cookies on a website. READ MORE

Prison Time for Personal Use of Company Computers? Supreme Court Grants Cert to Decide Whether Noncompliance With a Company’s Terms of Use Constitutes a Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

On Monday, April 20th, the Supreme Court accepted cert in Van Burien v. United States to (hopefully) resolve a longstanding circuit split regarding the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (or CFAA):  Does an individual exceed authorized access when he or she accesses a computer contrary to a policy or agreement limiting access (i.e., accessing a computer for a purpose beyond those permitted by the company). READ MORE

Tale of Two Acts: Washington Facial Recognition Law Succeeds, Privacy Act Falters

On Tuesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law legal restrictions on the use of facial recognition by public agencies (SB 6280), while the Washington Legislature previously reached an impasse on the proposed Washington Privacy Act (SB 6281) due to a few big ticket items, particularly whether the Act would be enforceable via a private right of action for Washington residents. READ MORE

FRAUD ALERT: PAYMENT PROCESSORS AND ISOs MUST ENSURE THAT THEIR COMPLIANCE PROCEDURES CAN DETECT COVID-19 FRAUD

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) plans to aggressively police companies that use deceptive marketing to take advantage of consumers’ fears relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FTC is focused on a broad range of potential deceptive practices, including unapproved or unsubstantiated health claims, work-at-home schemes, finance schemes, and misrepresentations as to the current availability of in-demand products, such as cleaning, household, and health or medical supplies. The FTC has already issued warning letters to seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products who claimed that their products could treat or prevent the coronavirus, and additional warning letters or enforcement actions are likely to follow as the pandemic progresses and economic uncertainty increases. READ MORE

How to Move to Remote Work and Comply with U.S. Privacy and Cybersecurity Laws

Cybercriminals are known to attack networks and individuals at inopportune times of crisis—and the coronavirus pandemic unfortunately presents just such an opportunity as millions are accessing corporate networks and databases from home. This past weekend New Jersey and Connecticut joined the growing list of jurisdictions (e.g., California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, and New York) to issue orders effectively requiring non-essential workers to avoid the workplace, and in some cases, to shelter-in-place. READ MORE