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
Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to allow the appeal in WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants may on first glance look like a significant setback to privacy advocates. However, the court’s unanimous judgment should be viewed with some relief by those arguing for greater privacy protections. Whilst the Supreme Court ruled that, on the facts, WM Morrisons Supermarkets plc (“Morrisons”) could not be held liable for the actions of its rogue former employee, the court said that, had it been necessary to decide the question, it would have held that the statutory data protection regime did not exclude the imposition of vicarious liability on employers. Furthermore, the decision also provides no protection to companies who have been held to be at fault for a data breach, since data subjects will have a direct right of action against the company in those cases and will not be relying on establishing vicarious liability. READ MORE
We expect national and international privacy regulators to take a pragmatic and reasonable approach to helping organisations navigate data protection compliance during the current COVID-19 crisis. This week, both the European Data Protection Supervisor (the “EDPS”) and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (the “ICO”) have shown that expected pragmatism. READ MORE
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
On March 11, 2020, the California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, (“California AG”) released a second set of modifications to the proposed regulations pursuant to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”). These recent modifications reflect some minor changes and clarifications from the first set of modifications to the proposed regulations (published on February 10, 2020).
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
Over the past few days, commentators and, in some cases, government ministers have stated that the GDPR (and by association the Data Protection Act 2018) are preventing some organisations from providing a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 crisis. READ MORE
On March 10, Orrick lawyers Shannon Yavorsky, Rebecca Harlow, Brett Cooper and Julie Totten recorded a discussion about COVID-19 operational issues associated with managing employees and businesses, including covering the topic of cyber vulnerability. The conversation shares insights into how COVID-19 is creating increased cybersecurity and privacy risks as companies prepare for the spread of the virus and are forced to adapt to a new way of doing business. This video is a segment from a one-hour CLE program entitled “The Early Legal Impact of COVID-19.” To view our video and the full length CLE click here. READ MORE
The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and a number of European data protection supervisory authorities have recently issued guidance on processing personal data, including special categories of personal data (i.e., health data), in connection with COVID-19. While the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) generally harmonizes data protection laws across Europe, E.U. Member States may derogate from the law in certain circumstances, including in matters of “public interest.” It is therefore critical for companies to keep abreast of the latest guidance issued by supervisory authorities in jurisdictions relevant to their businesses to ensure they comply with any local law guidance. READ MORE
The decision to appeal a regulatory finding is never taken lightly. By the time a regulator has completed its investigation and notified a company of its intention to fine, the company will have invested significant time and money in responding to the regulatory investigation. As such, there is a real temptation to accept the fine and the accompanying statement from the regulator and move on.
However, in the case of recent regulatory findings, fines and intentions to fine issued by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (the “ICO”) against British Airways, Marriott and Dixons Carphone, all three companies have appealed or indicated an intention to appeal despite the significant difference in the levels of the fines/intentions to fine. In our view, this is related to the spectre of an emerging class action litigation culture in the UK that increases the stakes for any company facing negative regulatory findings.
In this UK-focused blog we explore the potential motivation behind these decisions to appeal, why we expect to see more companies taking this approach in the future, and the steps to be taken in order to appeal decisions by the ICO and we also consider whether the companies that have failed to appeal and are now facing class actions made the right decision when they elected not to appeal.