ECHR, Bucur and Toma v. Romania, Judgement of 8 January 2013 - 40238/02
On 8. January 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) handed down judgement in the case of Bucur and Toma v. Romania (40238/02) finding a violation of Article 10 ECHR in the criminal conviction of an ex-member of the Romanian Intelligence Service who had made public irregular telephone tapping procedures. The ECHR held that the interference with the whistleblower's freedom of expression, and in particular with his right to impart information, had not been necessary in a democratic society.
Brick Court Chambers, 22 January 2014
On 22 January 2014, Jemima Stratford QC and Tim Johnston delivered their wide-ranging legal opinion (32 pages long) concerning the lawfulness of the UK government"s interception, use and transfer of intelligence data to Tom Watson, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones. The opinion not only raises serious questions about whether or not the security services are acting within the scope of the law, but also questions whether the law itself (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000) is in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Report and Recommendations of 12 December 2013
On 12 December 2013, the President's Review Group revealed its Report and Recommendations entitled "Liberty and Security in a Changing World". Looking at past and current practices of national security against threats of international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and cyber espionage and warfare, the Report aknowledges a robust foreign intelligence collection capability and aims to harmonize it with the committment to the protection of privacy and civil liberties ("fundamental values that can be and at times have been eroded by excessive intelligence collection"). Against this background, 46 recommendations are developed to change US intelligence collection activities.
Report by EU-Co-Chairs of 27. November 2013
On 27 November, the EU-Commission and the EU-Presidency Council have published as Co-Chairs their "Report on the Findings of the EU Co-Chairs of the Ad Hoc EU-US Working Group on Data Protection". The purpose of this Working Group was to establish the facts about US surveillance programmes and their impact on fundamental rights in the EU and personal data of EU citizens. The summary of the main findings is provided here:
On 23 September 2013, the US state California amended its the California Online Privacy Protection Act ("CalOPPA") to include a section titled "Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World."
On 9 September 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published its revised Guidelines Governing the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data (2013 Guidelines).
On 9 August 2013, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has published a Paper called "The National Security Agency: Missions, Authorities, Oversight and Partnerships" aimed at providing a succinct description of the NSA's mission, authorities, oversight and partnerships.
On 24 July 2013, the European Commission has published a Document by DG Home dating from March this year and called "Evidence for necessity of data retention in the EU" collating evidence provided to the Commission on the necessity of data retention including case studies from across the EU.
European Court of Human Rights
On 16 July 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has issued a Chamber judgment (not final) in the case of Wegrzynowski and Smolczewski v. Poland (application no. 33846/07) and found, unanimously, that a newspaper was not obliged to completely remove from its Internet archive an article found by a court to be inaccurate because there had been no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
On 10 July 2013, the EU-Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee has agreed on the next steps to be taken in its surveillance inquiry into alleged spying by the US and EU countries. On 4 July 2013, the EU-Parliament had adopted a Resolution on the US National Security Agency surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various Member States and their impact on EU citizens' privacy (2013/2682(RSP))
which instructed the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to conduct an in-depth inquiry into the matter in collaboration with national parliaments and the EU-US expert group set up by the Commission and to report back by the end of the 2013 (see Nr. 16 of the Resolution). The Civil Liberties Committee will hold hearings with their authorities, legal and IT experts, NGOs, data protection authorities, national parliaments following this issue and private firms involved in data transfers. The first hearing takes place on 5 September 2013.
On 9 July 2013, The EU-Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee has unanimously adopted a Report on a proposal for a Directive "on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online uses in the internal market". Under the rules approved the Legal Affairs Committee, online music service providers will get licenses more easily and musicians will receive royalties more quickly, enabling consumers to enjoy a wider range of music online.
On 17 April 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, has submitted his Report analysing the implications of States" surveillance of communications on the exercise of the human rights to privacy and to freedom of opinion and expression of the in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 16/4. While considering the impact of significant technological advances in communications, the Report underlines the urgent need to further study new modalities of surveillance and to revise national laws regulating these practices in line with human rights standards.
On 31 May 2013, the Council of the European Union sitting in configuration of Justice and Home Affairs has released a draft Compromise Text responding to the European Commission"s proposed General Data Protection Regulation (the "Proposed Regulation"). The compromise text narrows the scope of the Proposed Regulation and seeks to move from a detailed, prescriptive approach toward a risk-based framework.
CJEU, 30 May 2013, C-270/11
On 30 May 2013, the Court of Justice for the European Union (CJEU) has ordered Sweden to make a lump sum payment of €3 000 000 for its delay in transposing the Data Retention Directive into national law. Given that the Directive is intended to ensure that electronic communications data are available for the purpose of the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime, any delay in its transposition is liable to have consequences for public and private interests.
On 13 May 2013, the European Data Protection Authorities, assembled in the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, have adopted an "Advice Paper on Essential Elements of a Definition and a Provision on
Profiling within the EU General Data Protection Regulation" arguing for clear limits to profiling.
On 10 May 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has issued its ruling in CLS Bank International v. Alice Corporation on the patent-eligibility of method and computer-readable medium claims. Though the Court holds that the method and computer readable medium claims before it do not recite patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101, the ten judges of this decision formed no less than six different opinions on the matter.
On 8 May 2013, the Queen's speech also announced that "a draft Bill will be published establishing a simple set of consumer rights to promote competitive markets and growth." The purpose of this Consumer Rights Bill is to:
- Give consumers clearer rights in law and to make sure that consumer rights keep pace with technological advances.
- Provide important new protections for consumers alongside measures to reduce regulation for business, all with the aim of making markets work better.
On 19 April 2013, the European data protection authorities, assembled in the Article 29 Working Party (WP29), have adopted an Explanatory Document on Binding Corporate Rules for Processors (Processor BCR) in order to further explain the principles and elements to be found in Processor BCR set out in the Working Document 02/2012 (WP195) adopted on 6 June 2012.
On 2 April 2013, the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party has adopted its opinion 03/2013 in which the European data protection authorities assess and clarify the principle of purpose limitation with the aim to offer guidance on its practical application under the current and under proposed future legal framework (WP203).
In March 2013, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center has presented a Report with the results of its International Survey on Dispute Resolution in Technology Transactions (Survey). The Survey had been designed to assess the current use in technology-related disputes of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods as compared to court litigation, including a qualitative evaluation of these dispute resolution options and the results of this Survey provide a statistical basis to identify trends in the resolution of technology-related disputes as well as emerging best practices as potential guidance for intellectual
property stakeholders in their dispute resolution strategies.
In March 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published a Staff Report "Paper, Plastic ... or Mobile?" on mobile payment. The Staff Report discusses the emerging options and concerns for consumers using mobile payment and highlights those areas where staff believes continued monitoring and attention are warranted. In the end, it is clear that building a framework for mobile payments that keeps the consumer experience in mind will go a long way towards developing consumer trust and widespread adoption of these new products and services.
In February 2013, the World Economic Forum has published a report on "Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage" prepared in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group. The Report examines the need for new approaches in the policies which enable the managing of personal data in ways that are flexible, adaptive and contextually driven. The report highlights outcomes from a nine month, multistakeholder, global dialogue on how the principles for using personal data may need to be refreshed to ensure they protect the rights of individuals, unlock socio-economic value and are fit for the complexities of a hyperconnected world.
In January 2013, the Califonia Attorney General"s Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit has published "Privacy on the Go: Recommendations for the Mobile Ecosystem" for the mobile app industry. The aim of these recommendations is to help educate this industry and to promote privacy best practices by encouraging app developers and other players in the mobile sphere to consider privacy at the outset of the design process.
On 20 November 2012, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) published its report "The Right to be Forgotten - Between Expectations and Practice" authored by Peter Druschel, Michael Backes and Rodica Tirtea. The Report aims to cover the technical means to enforce or support "the right to be forgotten" in information systems and explores its obstacles and limitations.
On 5 September 2012, the Congress Research Service (CRS) published its report "The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Issues for Congress" authored by Ian F. Fergusson (Coordinator Specialist in International Trade and Finance), William H. Cooper (Specialist in International Trade and Finance), Remy Jurenas (Specialist in Agricultural Policy) and Brock R. Williams (Analyst in International Trade and Finance). The CRS-Report examines the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) within the broader context of multilateral and bilateral trade relations and international market access and compares the TPP to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) among other free trade agreements (FTAs) the USA has signed with other nations that carry provisions increasing the enforcement of intellectual property rights abroad.
On 29 June 2012, the Canadian Bill C-11 received Royal Assent and is, therefore, about to introduce fundamental changes into the Canadian Copyright Act. Aim of Bill C-11 is to update the rights and protections of copyright owners to better address the challenges and opportunities of the Internet, so as to be in line with international standards.
On 23 February 2012, the Obama administration released the white paper "Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy". the white paper proposes an elaborate framework for protecting privacy in the digital age.
On 25 January 2012, the European Commission has proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU's 1995 data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy.
On 23 January 2012, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has posted a "Data Protection Principle of Accountability Discussion Paper". This Discussion Paper provides an overview of current global discussions of the data protection principle of accountability.
On 20 October 2011, the International Chamber of Commerce has published a Discussion Paper on "Approaching Shortages of Mobile Broadband Spectrum Threaten to Limit Broadband Deployment and Economic Growth". This Discussion Paper informs governments and regulators about the economic benefits of taking action now to ensure that sufficient spectrum is available to support the increasing demands following current and expected data traffic trends.
On 15 November 2010, U.S. Participants in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations announced published the finalised text of the Agreement, after resolving the few issues that remained outstanding after the final round of negotiations in Tokyo.