The top 8 issues all CIO’s, CSO’s and CPO’s should know about how to notify data breaches in Europe

Keyboard and shadow - Data theft. © Colourbox (http://www.colourbox.com).

As the EU is about to enact a General Data Protection Regulation that will introduce a general obligation to notify personal data breaches for all companies doing business in Europe or directing it towards EU-based customers, we provide the reader with 8 of the most important aspects related to the implementation of this new obligation.

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Towards a New Personal Data Breach Notification Framework in the EU

"Everyday life of bits and bytes" by Rene Jakobson.

The European Commission published recently a Proposal for a Regulation on personal data protection. If adopted, it would repeal the 1995 Data Protection Directive. The Proposal includes a new data security framework: both the data controller and the data processor would have to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures in order to ensure that data is secure; a personal data breach would have to be reported within 24 hours to the supervisory authority, and also, without undue delay, to the data subject if the breach would adversely affect his personal data or privacy. We comment some of the pending issues.

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European Data Protection Supervisor Supports General Obligation to Report Security Breaches

"Sunlight" (Photo by Luc De Leeuw; shot on Feb. 3, 2008). Available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/9619972@N08/2422737815/ (Creative Commons "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)" license.)

The European Data Protection Supervisor has recently issued an opinion on the review of the EU legal framework for data protection (Directive 95/46/EC). It expresses concerns regarding the increasing difficulties for individuals to protect the privacy of their personal data, and calls for strengthening individuals’ rights over them. This can be done, the EDPS argues, by making security breach notifications mandatory for all relevant sectors, increasing transparency of processing for data subjects, and introducing new rights, such as the “right to be forgotten” and the “right to data portability”.

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Will France adopt a law requiring the notification of security breaches?

"Will France adopt a law requiring the notification of security breaches?" by Marie-Andrée WEISS & Cédric LAURANT (August 6, 2010)

A French bill “to better guarantee the right to privacy in the digital age” has implemented the European Directive 2009/136/EC by requiring the data controller to inform the “Data Protection Correspondent” (a person within an organization who could be the controller or someone assisting the controller), or in the absence thereof, the French data protection authority (the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés), of a breach of integrity or confidentiality. Those involved in the breach must also be informed, at least if security breaches are “likely to adversely affect” their personal data. The bill follows the recommendation of the Directive to notify individuals of security breaches for all sectors, not just electronic communications. It was adopted by the French Senate on March 24, 2010 and is currently before the National Assembly.
(A French version of this article is also available in this blog.)

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La France va-t-elle se doter d’une loi rendant obligatoire les notifications des violations de sécurité ?

"Will France adopt a law requiring the notification of security breaches?" by Marie-Andrée WEISS & Cédric LAURANT (August 6, 2010)

La proposition de loi française “visant à mieux garantir le droit à la vie privée à l’heure du numérique” transpose la Directive 2009/136/CE en obligeant les responsables de traitements de données à caractère personnel d’informer le correspondant “informatique et libertés” ou, en son absence, l’autorité de protection de la vie privée (la CNIL), d’une violation de l’intégrité ou de la confidentialité de ces traitements, ainsi que les personnes concernées par cette violation, du moins si les failles de sécurité sont “de nature à affecter négativement” leurs données à caractère personnel. Elle suit également la recommandation de la directive européenne de notifier aux particuliers les violations de sécurité pour tous les secteurs, pas seulement celui des communications électroniques. Elle a été adoptée par le Sénat français depuis le 24 mars 2010 et est actuellement devant l’Assemblée nationale.
(An English version of this article is also available in this blog.)

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Article 29 Data Protection Working Party reports on implementation of Data Retention Directive

"Article 29 Data Protection Working Party reports on implementation of Data Retention Directive" by Marie-Andrée WEISS & Cédric LAURANT (July 19, 2010)

The Article 29 Data Protection Working Party has adopted on July 13, 2010 a report on the EU Data Retention Directive (2006/24/EC). This report is the Working Party’s contribution to the evaluation of the implementation of the Data Retention Directive by the European Commission, which is due by September 15, 2010. The report details the results of a joint inquiry made by the data protection authorities about the compliance, at the national level, with the obligations of telecom providers and Internet service providers with both the Data Retention Directive and articles 6 and 9 of the EU e-Privacy Directive (2002/58/EC).

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Are ‘clouds’ located outside the European Union unlawful?

Threatening cloud (New York, NY) - Marie-Andrée Weiss, 2010

A central aspect of every cloud service contract is the security of data processing. It is therefore important, if only for liability reasons, that responsibility for specific security measures be clearly assigned. This can be done by using security service level agreements between the cloud service provider and its client that clearly assign who is responsible for which particular security measure.
Storing data in a cloud located outside the EU raises specific legal compliance issues. According to some experts, such clouds are even unlawful. There are, however, some ways to make sure that, even if a data controller stores data into a cloud located in a third country, he is still in compliance with German data protection law. A data exporter must use, in order to satisfy the adequate level of data protection requirement, specific standard contractual clauses for all contracts with a cloud service company located outside the EU. Binding corporate rules are the alternative solution, though only for private clouds.

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The Safe Harbor Framework: not a “safe harbor” anymore for US companies? German expert body insists on stronger compliance stance

Carantec Harbor (Port de Carantec), Brittany, France - (c) 2009 Cédric Laurant

On April 29, 2010, the Düsseldorfer Kreis, an informal group of German data protection authorities, published a decision that could have significant repercussions on U.S. companies importing personal data from organizations operating in the European Union. One of these repercussions is that German organizations exporting personal data to the United States should check if the U.S. data importer does indeed comply with the Safe Harbor Framework. Security plan recommendations will provide for a useful guideline to E.U. data exporters to help them comply with the Safe Harbor’s Security Principle.

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