Towards a New Personal Data Breach Notification Framework in the EU

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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New Brazilian Data Protection Bill Adopts Data Breach Notification Regime

"Metrô-Linha Vermelha" (Photo by "mlsirac"; shot on Sept. 11, 2010 in Sao Paulo, Brazil). Available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mlsirac/4988830112/ (Creative Commons "Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)" license.)

The new Brazilian Data Protection bill currently in discussion provides a whole new approach to data protection for the country. It also follows the current trend of several countries, the European Union included, by adopting a data breach notification regime. The text would make companies liable without the need to prove omission or negligence. Currently they are only liable to the extent of damages resulting from the misuse of information leaked or stolen due to a data security breach.

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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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Are ‘clouds’ located outside the European Union unlawful?

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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