Privacy at a glance

A New Year, a new decade, a new Privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act entered into force this January 2020.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation made a big bang noise with its unprecedented treat of fines. The general public started to be more aware of the value of their personal data. As we had predicted we whitened a deluge of Data Subject Access Request. However, Data Protection Authorities enforcements in the EU have been rather disappointing. The UK ICO has just announced the British Airways and Marriott Hotels ‘intends of fine’ decision has been delayed. The Irish Data Protection Commissionner is still awaited to prosecute the US corporations who have found refuge in Ireland for its tax and legislation clemency. The French CNIL change of Presidency seems to have affected its activities. France has so far created two breaches in the principle of consistency mechanisms in the enforcement of the regulation : first by following the Spanish authority in the creation of Data Protection Officers certification despite the position of the EDPB and more importantly by delaying enforcement of cookies and tracking regulations. France is in total contradiction with the recent European Court of Justice ruling in Planet 49. Web tracking cookies that are not purely functional require clear transparency in the language of the target audience, and should require pre consent. This is important and we deeply deplore official websites allowing the web tracking of their visitors. Sharing personal data with third parties – think Google Analytics or Facebook React JS free library codes as we have previously wrote about – result on becoming co-controller and liable as such. So far, kudos to the Romanian DPA for its enforcement and the German DPAs keeping their promise. The Belgian DPA has shown some recent activities. A few member states have not yet catch up with the regulation. Overall, as the EDBP has warned, DPAs have lacked resources.

The EU’s top data protection official Andrea Jelinek told the EU parliament that 4/5th of member state authorities had insufficient funds and/or personnel to do their job. She said member states needed to make sure to provide sufficient resources. ‘We have a huge problem’: European regulator despairs over lack of enforcement. The world’s toughest privacy law proves toothless in the eyes of many critics.

As Paul Nemitz, Principal Adviser on Justice Policy, EU Commission; Member of German Data Ethics, wrote on a tweet “Governments have lost ability to control #Google and #Facebook. These companies are undermining the process of democracy itself, becoming facilitators of political disinformation, influencing the political system and disrupting labour and capital markets“.

Opinion Global Economy A productive economic bubble is my wish for 2020 Speculation is a part of innovation and in the right conditions it can be a positive force RANA FOROOHAR

Facial recognition technologies continue their controversial expansion inspiring a wave of privacy fears as the software creeps into every corner of life in the US an Europe, with Chinese technologies.

IoT devices are showing their insecurity, one example being the Google connected camera after the Amazon Ring hack due to weak passwords or Smart TVs spying.

“Smart doorbells are primarily marketed as a deterrent to stop people from committing crimes, and it’s an aspiring goal to shoot for. The problem with any type of surveillance apparatus is when it wanders away from its intended use.” Here

The New York Times / Opinion – The Privacy Project, has been publishing a series of articles on privacy.

Twelve Million Phones, one Dataset, no Privacy :

“THE COMPANIES THAT COLLECT all this information on your movements justify their business on the basis of three claims: People consent to be tracked, the data is anonymous and the data is secure.

None of those claims hold up, based on the file we’ve obtained and our review of company practices.”

You Should Be Freaking Out About Privacy – Nothing to hide, nothing to fear? Think again.

It Seemed Like a Popular Chat App. It’s Secretly a Spy Tool.  – ToTok, an Emirati messaging app that has been downloaded to millions of phones, is the latest escalation of a digital arms race.

How Your Phone Betrays Democracy –
Your phone is emitting a beacon, one that’s invisible to the human eye. This signal is captured and collected, sometimes many times per minute. For protesters, that means a spy that keeps broadcasting long after the protesters head to their homes and take off their masks.

Total Surveillance Is Not What America Signed Up For

Where Even the Children Are Being Tracked

Giving the Gift of Surveillance.

Be Paranoid About Privacy – We need to take back our privacy from tech companies — even if that means sacrificing convenience.

These are few of the most recent publications by the NYT. The Guardian and the Washington Post have also been raising awareness on privacy issues to read if you wondered How we Will Survive Surveillance Apocalypse.

The UK Brexit will pause serious issues in the free flow of personal data as UK will become a country of non-adequate data protection. The direct consequence will be the need for Standard Contractual Clauses or Binding Corporate Rules and appointment of EU preventatives for UK organisations and non UK organisations that had opted for nomination of a representative in the UK. It is rather misleading to say that “Brussels threat to block City trade unless UK agrees to Europe’s rules“. the reality is the UK decision to leave with no deal. The actual consequences of the Brexit are still unknown and certainly more diplomatic than legal. We can only speculate.


2019 was the year of the EU Data Protection rules.
2020 “is expected to be a big year in federal privacy and data breach litigation.”! By Daniel R. Stoller, Esq.

1. Facebook’s High Court Privacy Fights Lead 2020 Lawsuits to Watch,

2. States Press Ahead With Privacy Laws Even as Congress Stalls,

3. EU Privacy Watchdogs Urged to Probe Netflix, Amazon, Spotify.#FacialRecognition is inspiring a wave of #privacy fears as the software creeps into every corner of life in the US & Europe.

These are few of the main privacy news of the year. The battle for privacy and Human dignity is ongoing.