All posts in International Privacy

The U.S. Congress Is Not the Leader in Privacy or Data Security Law

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Capitol Sinking 01

A common myth is that the U.S. Congress is a leader in creating privacy and data security law.  But this has not been true for quite some time.  Congress isn’t leading, and even the policies and practices of US companies are increasingly built around the law of the European Union (EU) or the states.

In the 1970s through the end of the 1990s, the US Congress passed a large number of important privacy laws.  Here are some of the most prominent of these statutes:

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Congress’s Attempt to Repeal the FCC Internet Privacy Rules: The Void Will Be Filled

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

FCC Privacy Rules Repealed

Recently, Congress voted to overturn new FCC rules that regulated the privacy of broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  The rules implemented the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 222 to ISPs, requiring opt in for sharing sensitive customer data, opt out for sharing non-sensitive customer data, as well as transparency requirements.  Sensitive data includes precise geo-location, children’s information, health information, financial information, Social Security Numbers, Web browsing history, app usage history, and the contents of communications.  The rules required reasonable data security protections as well as data breach notification.

FCC LogoThis development is a setback in Internet privacy protection, but it doesn’t mean that Internet privacy is doomed.  There are many other regulators and sources of privacy law to fill the void.

Pro-industry advocates often decry much privacy regulation and cheer the death of rules such as the FCC rules.  They advocate for rolling back the jurisdiction and power of regulatory agencies like the FCC and FTC.

Ironically, efforts to weaken the FTC and FCC probably won’t lead to more freedom for industry.  In the short term after regulation is weakened or killed, there is a void, so this seems like a nice freer zone for companies..  But nature abhors a vacuum.  Other regulators will fill the void, and typically it is regulators who are most passionate about protecting privacy such as California and the EU.  They are far more likely to regulate privacy even more stringently than the FCC or FTC.

In the absence of federal regulation, many states pass laws that create a complicated patchwork of inconsistent regulation.  This is what happened with data security regulation and data breach notification.  Way back in 2005, after the ChoicePoint breach captured national headlines, Congress was considering enacting a law.  But it failed to act.  Instead, the vast majority of states passed data breach notification statutes, and many states passed data security laws.  Instead of having to comply with one law, companies must navigate laws in many states.  The most common strategy for companies operating in all states  is to try to follow the strictest state law,  Thus, the de facto rule is the law of the state with the most strict protections.

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Privacy Shield Training

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Privacy Shield Training Course

I have produced a new Privacy Shield training course that provides a short introduction to the EU-US Privacy Shield Framework.  Privacy Shield is an arrangement reached between the EU and US for companies to transfer data about EU citizens to the US.  Privacy Shield replaces the Safe Harbor Arrangement, which was invalidated in 2015 in the case of Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner.

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A New US-EU Safe Harbor Agreement Has Been Reached

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

EU-US Privacy Shield Safe Harbor Training

Last year, the death of the US-EU Safe Harbor Arrangement sent waves of shock and despair to the approximately 4500 companies that used this mechanism to transfer personal data from the US to the EU.  But a new day has dawned.

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The Kafkaesque Sacrifice of Encryption Security in the Name of Security

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

The Kafkaesque Sacrifice of Encryption Security in the Name of Security

By Daniel J. Solove

Proponents for allowing government officials to have backdoors to encrypted communications need to read Franz Kafka.  Nearly a century ago, Kafka deftly captured the irony at the heart of their argument in his short story, “The Burrow.”

After the Paris attacks, national security proponents in the US and abroad have been making even more vigorous attempts to mandate a backdoor to encryption.

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The Growing Problems with the Sectoral Approach to Privacy Law

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Sectoral Omnibus Privacy Regulation

By Daniel J. Solove

The US regulates privacy with a sectoral approach, with laws that are directed only to specific industries.  In contrast, the EU and many other countries have an omnibus approach — one overarching law that regulates privacy consistently across all industries.  The US is an outlier from the way most countries regulate privacy.

About 15 years ago, the sectoral approach was hailed by many US organizations as vastly preferable to an omnibus approach.  Each industry wanted to be regulated differently, in a more nuanced way focused on its particular needs.  Industries could lobby and exert their influence much more on laws focused on their industry.  Additionally, some organizations liked the sectoral approach because they fell into one of the big gaps in regulation.

But today, ironically, the sectoral approach is not doing many organizations any favors.  There are still gaps in protection under the US approach, but these have narrowed.  In fact, many organizations do not fall into gaps in protection — they are regulated by many overlapping laws.  The result is a ton of complexity, inconsistency, and uncertainty in the law.

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Sunken Safe Harbor: 5 Implications of Schrems and US-EU Data Transfer

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

sunken safe harbor

By Daniel J. Solove

In a profound ruling with enormous implications,the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has declared the Safe Harbor Arrangement to be invalid.

[Press Release]  [Opinion]

The Safe Harbor Arrangement

The Safe Harbor Arrangement has been in place since 2000, and it is a central means by which data about EU citizens can be transferred to companies in the US.  Under the EU Data Protection Directive, data can only be transferred to countries with an “adequate level of protection” of personal data.  The EU has not deemed the US to provide an adequate level of protection, so Safe Harbor was created as a work around.

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Should the U.S. Play By Different Rules in Cyberspace?

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Flag

Recently, oral arguments were heard in a very important case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The case is officially titled In the Matter of a Warrant to Search a Certain E-Mail Account Controlled and Maintained by Microsoft Corporation, but it is being referred to as Microsoft v. United States for short.

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Facebook Privacy Sherpas, the Internet of Things, and Other Privacy + Security Updates

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

p+s update image

By Daniel J. Solove and Paul M. Schwartz

This post is co-authored with Professor Paul M. Schwartz.

This post is part of a post series where we round up some of the interesting news and resources we’re finding.

For a PDF version of this post, and for archived issues of previous posts, click here.

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Drones, Data Breaches, Cramming, and Other Privacy + Security Updates

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

drones and data breaches

by Daniel J. Solove

This post is co-authored with Professor Paul M. Schwartz.

This post is part of a post series where we round up some of the interesting news and resources we’re finding. For a PDF version of this post, and for archived issues of previous posts, click here.

We became quite busy after the last update, so we’re a bit backlogged. We are catching up on developments late last year and we have a lot of material. We will release the next issue soon, as there is too much material to fit into this issue.

For a PDF version of this post, click here.

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The Undying Death of Privacy

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

will privacy ever stop dyingby Daniel J. Solove

“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
— Privacy

I am growing weary of hearing news of the end of privacy or the death of privacy. Like news of the apocalypse, it seems as though declarations of the looming end of privacy are endless.

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Notable Privacy and Security Books in 2014

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

notable privacy books 2014

by Daniel J. Solove

There were quite a number of books published about privacy and security issues last year, and I would like to highlight a few notable ones. A few books came out in late 2014 and have an early 2015 publication date. I’m including them here. The books are in no particular order.

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Privacy and Security Developments 2014 Issue 1

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

privacy and security update

by Daniel J. Solove

Issue 2014 No. 1

This post is co-authored with Professor Paul M. Schwartz.

We spend a lot of time staying up to date so we can update our casebooks and reference books, so we thought we would share with you some of the interesting news and resources we’re finding. We plan to post a series of posts like this one throughout the year.

For a PDF version of this post, click here.

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Ebola and Privacy: Snooping, Confidentiality, and HIPAA

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Ebola Virus Confidential

by Daniel J. Solove

The recent cases of Ebola in the United States demonstrate challenges to health privacy in today’s information age — both in preventing employees from snooping into patient information as well as preventing the disclosure of patient identities.

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What Is Sensitive Data? Different Definitions in Privacy Law

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Sensitive Data Image 01

by Daniel J. Solove

I was corresponding with K. Royal the other day, as she was graciously providing some feedback on a training program I created, and we got to talking about sensitive data. In their privacy laws, many countries designate a special category of data called “sensitive data” that receives especially stringent protections.

The most common list of categories for sensitive data is the list in the EU Data Protection Directive, which includes data about “racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade-union memberships, health, and sex life.”

The US has no special category of “sensitive data” but US privacy law does protect certain forms of data more stringently (health, financial).

I find it interesting what various countries define as sensitive data, and K Royal has created an awesome chart that she shared with me:

Chart of Sensitive Data in Various Countries

To a privacy wonk like me, a chart like this makes me giddy with excitement, and so I thought I’d share it with you (with her permission, of course).

Here’s a tally of the various types of most-commonly recognized categories of sensitive data. This is based on a chart of the sensitive data category of many countries that K Royal created.

Sensitive Data Chart Word Tally 03

SPECIFIC COUNTRIES’ DEFINITIONS OF SENSITIVE DATA

You can access the full Excel spreadsheet of the data here.

Note: The entry for “standard” means the standard list from the EU Data Protection Directive. The categories encompassed by “standard” include the one beginning “national, Racial/Ethnic” through “sexual preferences and practices.”  More background about K’s project can be found at her blog.

If you want to see the spreadsheet data laid out in a blog post, you can see my longer post about the issue at my LinkedIn Blog.

Follow Professor Solove on Social Media

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

If you are interested in privacy and data security issues, there are many great ways Professor Solove can help you stay informed:

Professor Solove’s LinkedIn Influencer blog

LinkedIn Influencer 02 You can follow Professor Solove on his blog at LinkedIn, where he is an “LinkedIn Influencer.”  He blogs about various privacy and data security issues. His blog has more than 600,000 followers.

LinkedIn Influencer 01

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Professor Solove’s Twitter Feed

Twitter 01Professor Solove is active on Twitter and posts links to current privacy and data security stories and new scholarship, cases, and developments of note.

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Professor Solove’s Newsletter

Newsletter 01Sign up for our newsletter where Professor Solove provides information about his recent writings and new training programs that he has created.

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Professor Solove’s LinkedIn Discussion Groups

Please join one or more of Professor Solove’s LinkedIn discussion groups, where you can follow new developments on privacy, data security, HIPAA, and education privacy issues. You can also participate in the discussion, share interesting news and articles, ask questions, or start new conversations:

Privacy and
Data Security
HIPAA Privacy
and Security
Education Privacy
and Data Security
Image Group LinkedIn Logo Education Privacy 01 Image Group LinkedIn Logo HIPAA 01 Image Group LinkedIn Logo Privacy Security 01

What Google Must Forget: The EU Ruling on the Right to Be Forgotten

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

 

google right to be forgotten blog 1

by Daniel J. Solove

In a momentous decision, the EU Court of Justice has ruled in favor of a Spanish man who sought to have links to his personal data removed from Google search results. Under what has become known as the “right to be forgotten,” EU citizens have a right to the deletion of certain personal data under the EU Data Protection Directive.

The EU Court of Justice has concluded that “the operator of a search engine is obliged to remove from the list of results displayed following a search made on the basis of a person’s name links to web pages, published by third parties and containing information relating to that person, also in a case where that name or information is not erased beforehand or simultaneously from those web pages, and even, as the case may be, when its publication in itself on those pages is lawful.”

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The Future of Global Privacy: Conflict or Harmony?

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

future of global privacy blog 1

by Daniel J. Solove

I recently had the opportunity to interview Christopher Kuner, Senior Of Counsel with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Brussels. He is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Copenhagen, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics, and teaches at the University of Cambridge. He is editor-in-chief of the law journal International Data Privacy Law, and has been active in international organizations such as the Council of Europe, the OECD, and UNCITRAL. His book entitled “Transborder Data Flows and Data Privacy Law” was published in 2013 by Oxford University Press. More information is available at his personal web site.

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The Year in Privacy 2013 and the Year to Come

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

high-tech technology background with eyes on computer display

by Daniel J. Solove

2013 was a remarkable year in privacy developments. Here are four main trends I saw occurring this year:

1. The heat on the NSA for its broad surveillance programs has been sustained and productive.

The Edward Snowden leaks revealed massive NSA surveillance efforts. What is most interesting in the aftermath of the recent NSA surveillance revelations has been the strong public disapproval of the NSA surveillance and courts finally taking some leadership on the issue, such as one court declaring the surveillance likely unconstitutional. The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies recommended curbs on the NSA. Congress has yet to show leadership on the issue, which remains disappointing, but we are finally seeing the stirrings of a response and perhaps change. Indeed, 56% of people in a Pew poll “say that federal courts fail to provide adequate limits on the telephone and internet data the government is collecting.”

Moreover, the story regarding NSA surveillance keeps going on. It hasn’t faded. The overall trend is that there is now sustained heat on the NSA and a sustained stirring for changing the law to provide greater oversight and controls on government surveillance.

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New Privacy Training Programs: US, EU, and Global Privacy Law

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

by Daniel J. Solove

We have launched several new privacy training programs, including a series with brief introductions to privacy law.  We have completed a privacy training program about US Privacy Law with a video and interactive material / quiz questions.  And we just completed a training program about EU Privacy Law.  This program has a 7.5 minute video (as well as an abridged version at 4.5 minutes), and there’s a separate excerpt on the Safe Harbor Arrangement for those who only want to cover Safe Harbor in their training programs.

These programs are illustrated-as-I-talk.  You can preview the European Union Privacy Law video.

Coming soon: Global Privacy Law, which will focus heavily on the OECD Privacy Guidelines and  the APEC Privacy Framework.

European Union Privacy Training