Note: This article was created for the printed magazine. A flurry of news items from the SCL web site that you might have missed
Data Protection Bill
The Data Protection Bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 13 September. With the long title ‘A Bill to make provision for the regulation of the processing of information relating to individuals; to make provision in connection with the Information Commissioner's functions under certain regulations relating to information; to make provision for a direct marketing code of conduct; and for connected purposes.’, the Bill is also said to help prepare the UK for a future outside the EU.
Brexit Negotiating Position
The EU team negotiating the UK's withdrawal has published a brief (4-page) position paper outlining the principles underlying their thinking on what to do about data protection and confidential information.
Guidelines for Online Platforms on Illegal Content
On 28 September, the EU Commission published a ‘Communication’ setting out guidelines and principles for online platforms dealing with illegal content inciting hatred, violence and terrorism. The Communication has the subtitle ‘Tackling Illegal Content Online Towards an enhanced responsibility of online platforms’. See the article from Nick Aries on p 33 for more on this.
EDPS on ePrivacy Regulation
The European Data Protection Supervisor has published recommendations on specific aspects of the proposed ePrivacy Regulation. Building on his earlier Opinion, Giovanni Buttarelli’s latest recommendations ‘focus on the need to ensure legal certainty and a high level of protection of the fundamental rights to privacy and data protection’.
Tax Moves on Apple and Amazon Deals
The EU Commission has taken further steps against Member States in relation to so-called sweetheart deals affecting Amazon and Apple. The Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice for failing to recover from Apple illegal State aid worth up to €13 billion, as required by a Commission decision. It has also commenced proceedings against Luxembourg, stating that the Luxembourg taxation policy, as exploited by Amazon, was too lax and amounted to an abuse of competition. The Commission’s conclusion is that Luxembourg granted undue tax benefits to Amazon of around €250 million. This is illegal under EU State aid rules because it allowed Amazon to pay substantially less tax than other businesses. Luxembourg must now recover the illegal aid.
Bulk Communications Data Reference
On 8 September, the President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal asked the Grand Chamber of the CJEU to clarify whether the acquisition and use of Bulk Communications Data (BCD) by security agencies is outside the scope of EU law. The reference was made in the course of considering Privacy International’s ongoing challenge to the use of such data.
Electronic Evidence and Cross-border Access
The EU Commission has launched a consultation exercise, which is open until 27 October, seeking views on ways to improve cross-border access to electronic evidence in criminal matters. The stated objective is to gather input from a broad range of interested stakeholders, including public authorities, judges, prosecutors, EU institutions and agencies, international organisations, private companies, professional and business associations, civil society, academics and the general public. The aim is to collect information, views and experiences on current practices on obtaining cross-border electronic evidence in Member States as well as on practical and legal problems arising both at national and EU level from any gaps and weaknesses in existing regulations.