An Bord Eorpach um Chosaint Sonraí

Nuacht EDPB

OSS register
25 June 2020

The EDPB has published a new register containing decisions taken by national supervisory authorities following the One-Stop-Shop cooperation procedure (Art. 60 GDPR) on its website.

Under the GDPR, Supervisory Authorities have a duty to cooperate on cases with a cross-border component to ensure a consistent application of the regulation - the so-called one-stop-shop (OSS) mechanism. Under the OSS, the Lead Supervisory Authority (LSA) is in charge of preparing the draft decisions and works together with the concerned SAs to reach consensus. Up until early June, LSAs have adopted 110 final OSS decisions. The register includes access to the decisions as well as  summaries of the decisions in English prepared by the EDPB Secretariat. The register will be valuable to data protection practitioners who will gain access to information showcasing how SAs work together to enforce the GDPR in practice. The information in the register has been validated by the LSAs in question and in accordance with the conditions provided by its national legislation.

The register is accessible here

17 June 2020

During its 32nd plenary session, the EDPB adopted a statement on the interoperability of contact tracing apps, as well as a statement on the opening of borders and data protection rights. The Board also adopted two letters to MEP Körner - on encryption and on Article 25 GDPR - and a letter to CEAOB on PCAOB arrangements.

The EDPB adopted a statement on the interoperability of contact tracing applications, building on the EDPB Guidelines 04/2020 on the use of location data and contact tracing tools in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The statement offers a more in-depth analysis of key aspects, including transparency, legal basis, controllership, data subject rights, data retention and minimisation, information security and data accuracy in the context of creating an interoperable network of applications, that need to be considered on top of those highlighted in the EDPB Guidelines 04/2020.

The EDPB emphasises that the sharing of data about individuals that have been diagnosed or tested positively with such interoperable applications should only be triggered by a voluntary action of the user. Giving data subjects information and control will increase their trust in the solutions and their potential uptake. The goal of interoperability should not be used as an argument to extend the collection of personal data beyond what is necessary.

Moreover, contact tracing apps need to be part of a comprehensive public health strategy to fight the pandemic, such as testing and subsequent manual contact tracing for the purpose of improving effectiveness of the performed measures.

Ensuring interoperability is not only technically challenging and sometimes impossible without disproportionate trade-offs, but also leads to a potential increased data protection risk. Therefore, controllers need to ensure measures are effective and proportionate and must assess whether a less intrusive alternative can achieve the same purpose.

The EDPB adopted a statement on the processing of personal data in the context of reopening the Schengen borders following the COVID-19 outbreak. The measures allowing a safe reopening of the borders currently envisaged or implemented by Member States include testing for COVID-19, requiring certificates issued by health professionals and the use of a voluntary contact tracing app. Most measures involve processing of personal data.

The EDPB recalls that data protection legislation remains applicable and allows for an efficient response to the pandemic, while at the same time protecting fundamental rights and freedoms. The EDPB stresses that the processing of personal data must be necessary and proportionate, and the level of protection should be consistent throughout the EEA. In the statement, the EDPB urges the Member States to take a common European approach when deciding which processing of personal data is necessary in this context.

The statement also addresses the GDPR principles that Member States need to pay special attention to when processing personal data in the context of reopening the border. These include lawfulness, fairness and transparency, purpose limitation, data minimisation, storage limitation, security of data and data protection by design and by default. Moreover, the decision to allow the entrance into a country should not only be based on the automated individual decision making technologies. In any case, such decisions should be subject to suitable safeguards, which should include specific information to the data subject and the right to obtain human intervention, to express his or her point of view, to obtain an explanation of the decision reached after such assessment and to challenge the decision. Automated individual decision measures should not apply to children.

Finally, the EDPB highlights the importance of a prior consultation with competent national supervisory authorities when Member States intend to process personal data in this context.

The EDPB adopted a response to a letter from MEP Moritz Körner on the relevance of encryption bans in third countries for assessing the level of data protection when personal data are transferred to countries where these bans exist. According to the EDPB, any ban on encryption or provisions weakening encryption would seriously undermine compliance with GDPR security obligations applicable to controllers and processors, be that in a third country or in the EEA. Security measures are one of the elements the European Commission must take into account when assessing the adequacy of the level of protection in a third country.

A second letter to MEP Körner addresses the topic of laptop camera covers. MEP Körner highlighted that this technology could help comply with the GDPR and suggested new laptops should be equipped with it. In its reply, the Board clarifies that while laptop manufacturers should be encouraged to take into account the right to data protection when developing and designing such products, they are not responsible for the processing carried out with those products and the GDPR does not establish legal obligations for manufacturers, unless they also act as controllers or processors. Controllers must evaluate the risks of each processing and choose the appropriate safeguards to comply with GDPR, including the privacy by design and by default enshrined in Article 25 GDPR.

Finally, the EDPB adopted a letter to the Committee of European Auditor Oversight Bodies (CEAOB). The EDPB received a proposal from the CEAOB, which gathers the national auditor oversight bodies at EU level, to cooperate and receive feedback on negotiations of draft administrative arrangements for the transfer of data to the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The EDPB welcomes this proposal and indicates that it is available to hold an exchange with the CEAOB to clarify any potential questions on data protection requirements related to such arrangements in light of the EDPB Guidelines 2/2020 on Art. 46 (2) (a) and 46 (3) (b) GDPR for transfers of personal data between EEA and non-EEA public authorities. The exchange could also involve the PCAOB if the CEAOB and its members deem it beneficial for their work on these arrangements.

The agenda of the 32nd plenary is available here

Note to editors:
Please note that all documents adopted during the EDPB Plenary are subject to the necessary legal, linguistic and formatting checks and will be made available on the EDPB website once these have been completed.

10 June 2020

During its 31st plenary session, the EDPB decided to establish a taskforce to coordinate potential actions and to acquire a more comprehensive overview of TikTok’s processing and practices across the EU, and adopted a letter with regard to the use of Clearview AI by law enforcement authorities. In addition, the EDPB adopted a response to the ENISA advisory group and a letter in response to an Open Letter from NOYB.

The EDPB announced its decision to establish a taskforce to coordinate potential actions and to acquire a more comprehensive overview of TikTok’s processing and practices across the EU.

In response to MEP Körner’s request regarding TikTok, the EDPB indicates that it has already issued guidelines and recommendations that should be taken into account by all data controllers whose processing is subject to the GDPR, in particular when it comes to the transfer of personal data to third countries, substantive and procedural conditions for access to personal data by public authorities or the application of the GDPR territorial scope, in particular when it comes to the processing of minors’ data. The EDPB recalls that the GDPR applies to the processing of personal data by a controller, even if it is not established in the Union, where the processing activities are related to the offering of goods or services to data subjects in the Union.

In its response to MEPs regarding Clearview AI, the EDPB shared its concerns regarding certain developments in facial recognition technologies. The EDPB recalls that under the Law Enforcement Directive (EU) 2016/680, law enforcement authorities may process biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person only in accordance with the strict conditions of Articles 8 and 10 of the Directive.

The EDPB has doubts as to whether any Union or Member State law provides a legal basis for using a service such as the one offered by Clearview AI. Therefore, as it stands and without prejudice to any future or pending investigation, the lawfulness of such use by EU law enforcement authorities cannot be ascertained.

Without prejudice to further analysis on the basis of additional elements provided, the EDPB is therefore of the opinion that the use of a service such as Clearview AI by law enforcement authorities in the European Union would, as it stands, likely not be consistent with the EU data protection regime.

Finally, the EDPB refers to its guidelines on the processing of personal data through video devices and announces upcoming work on the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement authorities.

In response to a letter from the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) requesting that the EDPB nominate a representative to the ENISA Advisory group, the Board appointed Gwendal Le Grand, Deputy Secretary-General CNIL, as representative. The Advisory Group assists the Executive Director of ENISA with drawing up an annual work programme and ensuring communication with the relevant stakeholders.

The EDPB adopted a response to an Open Letter by NOYB regarding cooperation between the Supervisory Authorities and the consistency procedures. In its letter, the Board indicates it has been working constantly on the improvement of the cooperation between the Supervisory Authorities and the consistency procedures. The Board is aware that there are issues requiring improvement, such as the differences in national administrative procedural laws and practices, together with the time and resources needed to resolve cross-border cases. The Board reiterates it is committed to finding solutions, where these lie within its competence.

The agenda of the 31st plenary is available here

Note to editors:
Please note that all documents adopted during the EDPB Plenary are subject to the necessary legal, linguistic and formatting checks and will be made available on the EDPB website once these have been completed.

03 June 2020

During its 30th plenary session, the EDPB adopted a statement on data subject rights in connection to the state of emergency in Member States. The Board also adopted a letter in response to a letter from Civil Liberties Union for Europe, Access Now and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) regarding the Hungarian Government’s Decree 179/2020 of 4 May.

The EDPB recalls that, even in these exceptional times, the protection of personal data must be upheld in all emergency measures, thus contributing to the respect of the overarching values of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights on which the Union is founded.

In both the statement and the letter the EDPB reiterates that the GDPR remains applicable and allows for an efficient response to the pandemic, while at the same time protecting fundamental rights and freedoms. Data protection law already enables data-processing operations necessary to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement recalls the main principles related to the restrictions on data subject rights in connection to the state of emergency in Member States:

•    Restrictions which are general, extensive or intrusive to the extent that they void a fundamental right of its basic content cannot be justified.
•    Under specific conditions, Article 23 GDPR allows national legislators to restrict via a legislative measure the scope of the obligations of controllers and processors and the rights of data subjects when such a restriction respects the essence of the fundamental rights and freedoms and is a necessary and proportionate measure in a democratic society to safeguard important objectives of general public interest of the Union or of a Member State, such as in particular public health.
•    Data subject rights are at the core of the fundamental right to data protection and Article 23 GDPR should be interpreted and read bearing in mind that their application should be the general rule. As restrictions are exceptions to the general rule, they should only be applied in limited circumstances.
•    Restrictions must be provided for ‘by law’, and the law establishing restrictions should be sufficiently clear as to allow citizens to understand the conditions in which controllers are empowered to resort to them. Additionally, restrictions must be foreseeable for persons subject to them. Restrictions imposed for a duration not precisely limited in time, which apply retroactively or are subject to undefined conditions, do not meet the foreseeability criterion.
•    The mere existence of a pandemic or any other emergency situation alone is not a sufficient reason to provide for any kind of restriction on the rights of data subjects; rather, any restriction must clearly contribute to the safeguard of an important objective of general public interest of the EU or of a Member State.  
•    The emergency state, adopted in a pandemic context, is a legal condition, which may legitimise restrictions of data subject rights, provided these restrictions only apply insofar as it is strictly necessary and proportionate in order to safeguard the public health objective. Thus, restrictions must be strictly limited in scope and in time, since data subject rights can be restricted but not denied. Additionally, the guarantees provided for under Article 23(2) GDPR must fully apply.
•    Restrictions adopted in the context of a state of emergency suspending or postponing the application of data subject rights and the obligations incumbent to data controllers and processors, without any clear limitation in time, would equate to a de facto blanket suspension of those rights and would not be compatible with the essence of the fundamental rights and freedoms.

Furthermore, the EDPB announced it will issue guidelines on the implementation of Article 23 of the GDPR in the coming months.

The agenda of the 30th pleanry is available here

Note to editors:
Please note that all documents adopted during the EDPB Plenary are subject to the necessary legal, linguistic and formatting checks and will be made available on the EDPB website once these have been completed.

20 May 2020

Brussels, 20 May - During its 28th EDPB plenary session, the EDPB adopted an Art. 64 GDPR opinion on the draft Standard Contractual Clauses submitted by the Slovenian Supervisory Authority (SA) and decided on the publication of a register containing ‘one-stop-shop’ decisions.

The EDPB adopted its opinion on the draft Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) for controller-processor contracts submitted to the Board by the Slovenian Supervisory Authority. The opinion aims to ensure the consistent application of Article 28 GDPR, which imposes an obligation on controllers and processors to enter into a contract or other legal act stipulating the parties’ respective obligations. According to Article 28(6) GDPR, these contracts or other legal acts may be based, in whole or in part, on standard contractual clauses adopted by a Supervisory Authority. In the opinion, the Board makes several recommendations that need to be taken into account in order for these draft SCCs to be considered as Standard Contractual Clauses. If all recommendations are implemented, the Slovenian SA will be able to adopt this draft agreement as Standard Contractual Clauses pursuant to Article 28(8) GDPR.

The EDPB will publish a register containing decisions taken by national supervisory authorities following the One-Stop-Shop cooperation procedure (Art. 60 GDPR) on its website.

Under the GDPR, Supervisory Authorities have a duty to cooperate on cases with a cross-border component to ensure a consistent application of the regulation - the so-called one-stop-shop (OSS) mechanism. Under the OSS, the Lead Supervisory Authority (LSA) is in charge of preparing the draft decisions and works together with the concerned SAs to reach consensus. Up to end of April 2020, LSAs have adopted 103 final OSS decisions. The EDPB intends to publish summaries in English prepared by the EDPB Secretariat. The information will be made public after the validation of the LSA in question and in accordance with the conditions provided by its national legislation.

The agenda of the 28th plenary is available here

Note to editors:
Please note that all documents adopted during the EDPB Plenary are subject to the necessary legal, linguistic and formatting checks and will be made available on the EDPB website once these have been completed.

08 May 2020

During its 26th plenary session, the EDPB adopted a letter in response to requests from MEPs Metsola and Halicki regarding the Polish presidential elections taking place via postal vote. Additionally, an exchange of information took place on the recent Hungarian government decrees in relation to the coronavirus during the state of emergency
 
In its response to the MEPs Metsola and Halicki, the EDPB indicates that it is aware that data of Polish citizens was sent from the national PESEL (personal identification) database to the Polish Post by one of the Polish ministries and acknowledges that this issue requires special attention.

The Board underlines that, according to the GDPR, personal data, such as names and addresses, and national identification numbers (such as the Polish PESEL ID), must be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner, for specified purposes only. Public authorities may disclose information on individuals included in electoral lists, but only when this is specifically authorised by Member State law. The EDPB underlined that the disclosure of personal data – from one entity to another – always requires a legal basis in accordance with EU data protection laws. As previously indicated in the EDPB statement on the use of personal data in political campaigns (2/2019), political parties and candidates - but also public authorities, particularly those responsible for public registers - must stand ready to demonstrate how they have complied with data protection principles. The EDPB also underlined that, where elections are conducted by the collection of postal votes, it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that specific safeguards are in place to maintain the secrecy and integrity of the personal data concerning political opinions.

EDPB Chair, Andrea Jelinek, added: “Elections form the cornerstone of every democratic society. That is why the EDPB has always dedicated special attention to the processing of personal data for election purposes. We encourage data controllers, especially public authorities, to lead by example and process personal data in a manner which is transparent and leaves no doubt regarding the legal basis for the processing operations, including disclosure of data.”

However, the EDPB stresses that enforcement of the GDPR lies with the national supervisory authorities. The EDPB is not a data protection supervisory authority in its own right and, as such, does not have the same competences, tasks and powers as the national supervisory authorities. In the first instance, the assessment of alleged GDPR infringements falls within the competence of the responsible and independent national supervisory authority. Nevertheless, the EDPB will continue to pay special attention to the developments of personal data processing in connection to democratic elections and remains ready to support all members of the Board, including the Polish Supervisory Authority, in such matters.

During the plenary, the Hungarian Supervisory Authority provided the Board with information on the legislative measures the Hungarian government has adopted in relation to the coronavirus during the state of emergency. The Board considers that further explanation is necessary and has thus requested that the Hungarian Supervisory Authority provides further information on the scope and the duration, as well as the Hungarian Supervisory Authority’s opinion on the necessity and proportionality of these measures. The Board will discuss this further during its plenary session next Tuesday.

The agenda of the 26th plenary is available here

Note to editors:
Please note that all documents adopted during the EDPB Plenary are subject to the necessary legal, linguistic and formatting checks and will be made available on the EDPB website once these have been completed.

24 April 2020

During its 24th plenary session, the EDPB adopted three letters, reinforcing several elements from its earlier guidance on data protection in the context of fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

In reply to a letter from the United States Mission to the European Union, the EDPB looks into transfers of health data for research purposes, enabling international cooperation for the development of a vaccine. The US Mission enquired into the possibility of relying on a derogation of Art. 49 GDPR to enable international flows.

The EDPB tackled this topic in detail in its recently adopted guidelines (03/2020) on the processing of health data for scientific research. In its letter, the EDPB reiterates that the GDPR allows for collaboration between EEA and non-EEA scientists in the search for vaccines and treatments against COVID-19, while simultaneously protecting fundamental data protection rights in the EEA.

When data are transferred outside of the EEA, solutions that guarantee the continuous protection of data subjects’ fundamental rights, such as adequacy decisions or appropriate safeguards (included in Article 46 GDPR) should be favoured, according to the EDPB.  

However, the EDPB considers that the fight against COVID-19 has been recognised by the EU and Member States as an important public interest, as it has caused an exceptional sanitary crisis of an unprecedented nature and scale. This may require urgent action in the field of scientific research, necessitating transfers of personal data to third countries or international organisations.
 
In the absence of an adequacy decision or appropriate safeguards, public authorities and private entities may also rely upon derogations included in Article 49 GDPR

Andrea Jelinek, the Chair of the EDPB, said: “The global scientific community is racing against the clock to develop a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment. The EDPB confirms that the GDPR offers tools giving the best guarantees for international transfers of health data and is flexible enough to offer faster temporary solutions in the face of the urgent medical situation.”

The EDPB also adopted a response to a request from MEPs Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová and Eugen Jurzyca.

The EDPB replies that data protection laws already take into account data processing operations necessary to contribute to fighting an epidemic, therefore - according to the EDPB - there is no reason to lift GDPR provisions, but to observe them. In addition, the EDPB refers to the guidelines on the issues of geolocation and other tracing tools, as well as the processing of health data for research purposes in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the EDPB, added: “The GDPR is designed to be flexible. As a result, it can enable an efficient response to support the fight against the pandemic, while at the same time protecting fundamental human rights and freedoms. When the processing of personal data is necessary in the context of COVID-19, data protection is indispensable to build trust, to create the conditions for social acceptability of any possible solution and, therefore, to guarantee the effectiveness of these measures”.

The EDPB received two letters from Sophie In 't Veld MEP, raising a series of questions regarding the latest technologies that are being developed in order to fight the spread of COVID-19.

In its reply, the EDPB refers to its recently adopted guidelines (04/2020) on the use of location data and contact tracing apps, which highlight – among other elements - that such schemes should have a voluntary nature, use the least amount of data possible, and should not trace individual movements, but rather use proximity information of users.

The agenda of the 23rd plenary is available here

Note to editors:
Please note that all documents adopted during the EDPB Plenary are subject to the necessary legal, linguistic and formatting checks and will be made available on the EDPB website once these have been completed.

21 April 2020

During its 23rd plenary session, the EDPB adopted guidelines on the processing of health data for research purposes in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak and guidelines on geolocation and other tracing tools in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The  guidelines on the processing of health data for research purposes in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak aim to shed light on the most urgent legal questions concerning the use of health data, such as the legal basis of processing, further processing of health data for the purpose of scientific research, the implementation of adequate safeguards and the exercise of data subject rights.

The guidelines state that the GDPR contains several provisions for the processing of health data for the purpose of scientific research, which also apply in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular relating to consent and to the respective national legislations. The GDPR foresees the possibility to process certain special categories of personal data, such as health data, where it is necessary for scientific research purposes.

In addition, the guidelines address legal questions concerning international data transfers involving health data for research purposes related to the fight against COVID-19, in particular in the absence of an adequacy decision or other appropriate safeguards.  

Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the EDPB, said: “Currently, great research efforts are being made in the fight against COVID-19. Researchers hope to produce results as quickly as possible. The GDPR does not stand in the way of scientific research, but enables the lawful processing of health data to support the purpose of finding a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19”.

The guidelines on geolocation and other tracing tools in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak aim to clarify the conditions and principles for the proportionate use of location data and contact tracing tools, for two specific purposes:
1.    using location data to support the response to the pandemic by modelling the spread of the virus in order to assess the overall effectiveness of confinement measures;
2.    using contact tracing, which aims to notify individuals who may have been in close proximity to someone who is eventually confirmed as a carrier of the virus, in order to break the contamination chains as early as possible.

The guidelines emphasise that both the GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive contain specific provisions allowing for the use of anonymous or personal data to support public authorities and other actors at both national and EU level in their efforts to monitor and contain the spread of COVID-19. The general principles of effectiveness, necessity, and proportionality must guide any measures adopted by Member States or EU institutions that involve processing of personal data to fight COVID-19.

The EDPB stands by and underlines the position expressed in its letter to the European Commission (14 April) that the use of contact tracing apps should be voluntary and should not rely on tracing individual movements, but rather on proximity information regarding users.

Dr. Jelinek added: “Apps can never replace nurses and doctors. While data and technology can be important tools, we need to keep in mind that they have intrinsic limitations. Apps can only complement the effectiveness of public health measures and the dedication of healthcare workers that is necessary to fight COVID-19. At any rate, people should not have to choose between an efficient response to the crisis and the protection of fundamental rights.”

In addition, the EDPB adopted a guide for contact tracing apps as an annex to the guidelines. The purpose of this guide, which is non-exhaustive, is to provide general guidance to designers and implementers of contact tracing apps, underlining that any assessment must be carried out on a case-by-case basis.

Both sets of guidelines will exceptionally not be submitted for public consultation due to the urgency of the current situation and the necessity to have the guidelines readily available.

The agenda of the 23rd plenary is available here

Note to editors:
Please note that all documents adopted during the EDPB Plenary are subject to the necessary legal, linguistic and formatting checks and will be made available on the EDPB website once these have been completed.

17 April 2020

On April 17th, the EDPB held its 22nd Plenary Session. For further information, please consult the agenda:

Agenda of Twenty-second Plenary

14 April 2020

Following a request for consultation from the European Commission, the European Data Protection Board adopted a letter concerning the European Commission's draft Guidance on apps supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. This Guidance on data protection and privacy implications complements the European Commission’s Recommendation on apps for contact tracing, published on 8 April and setting out the process towards a common EU toolbox for the use of technology and data to combat and exit from the COVID-19 crisis.
 
Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the EDPB, said: “The EDPB welcomes the Commission’s initiative to develop a pan-European and coordinated approach as this will help to ensure the same level of data protection for every European citizen, regardless of where he or she lives.”
 
In its letter, the EDPB specifically addresses the use of apps for the contact tracing and warning functionality, because this is where increased attention must be paid in order to minimise interferences with private life while still allowing data processing with the goal of preserving public health.
 
The EDPB considers that the development of the apps should be made in an accountable way, documenting with a data protection impact assessment all the implemented privacy by design and privacy by default mechanisms. In addition, the source code should be made publicly available for the widest possible scrutiny by the scientific community.
 
The EDPB strongly supports the Commission’s proposal for a voluntary adoption of such apps, a choice that should be made by individuals as a token of collective responsibility.
 
Finally, the EDPB underlined the need for the Board and its Members, in charge of advising and ensuring the correct application of the GDPR and the E-Privacy Directive, to be fully involved in the whole process of elaboration and implementation of these measures. The EDPB recalls that it intends to publish Guidelines in the upcoming days on geolocation and tracing tools in the context of the COVID-19 out-break.

The EDPB’s letter is available here: https://edpb.europa.eu/letters_en
 
The agenda of the 21th plenary session is available here: https://edpb.europa.eu/our-work-tools/agenda/2020_en#agenda_490

07 April 2020

During its 20th plenary session on April 7th, the European Data Protection Board assigned concrete mandates to its expert subgroups to develop guidance on several aspects of data processing in the fight against COVID-19. This follows the decision made on April 3rd during the EDPB's 19th plenary session.

1.    geolocation and other tracing tools in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak – a mandate was given to the technology expert subgroup for leading this work;
2.    processing of health data for research purposes in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak – a mandate was given to the compliance, e-government and health expert subgroup for leading this work.

Considering the high priority of these 2 topics, the EDPB decided to postpone the guidance work on teleworking tools and practices in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, for the time being.

Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the EDPB, said: “The EDPB will move swiftly to issue guidance on these topics within the shortest possible notice to help make sure that technology is used in a responsible way to support and hopefully win the battle against the corona pandemic. I strongly believe data protection and public health go hand in hand."

The agenda of the 20th plenary session is available here

03 April 2020

The European Data Protection Board is speeding up its guidance work in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Its monthly plenary meetings are being replaced by weekly remote meetings with the Members of the Board.
 
Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the EDPB, said: "The Board will prioritise providing guidance on the following issues: use of location data and anonymisation of data; processing of health data for scientific and research purposes and the processing of data by technologies used to enable remote working. The EDPB will adopt a horizontal approach and plans to issue general guidance with regard to the appropriate legal bases and applicable legal principles."

The agenda of today's remote meeting is available here

23 March 2020

Following a decision by the EDPB Chair, the EDPB April Plenary Session has been cancelled due to safety concerns surrounding the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The EDPB hereby follows the example of other EU institutions, such as the European Parliament, which have restricted the number of large-scale meetings.

The April Plenary Session was scheduled to take place on 20 and 21 April. Earlier, the EDPB March Plenary was also cancelled for the same reasons. You can find an overview of upcoming EDPB Plenary Meetings here

20 March 2020

On March 19th, the European Data Protection Board adopted a formal statement on the processing of personal data in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak via written procedure. The full statement is available here

16 March 2020

Governments, public and private organisations throughout Europe are taking measures to contain and mitigate COVID-19. This can involve the processing of different types of personal data.  

Andrea Jelinek, Chair of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), said: “Data protection rules (such as GDPR) do not hinder measures taken in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. However, I would like to underline that, even in these exceptional times, the data controller must ensure the protection of the personal data of the data subjects. Therefore, a number of considerations should be taken into account to guarantee the lawful processing of personal data.”

The GDPR is a broad legislation and also provides for the rules to apply to the processing of personal data in a context such as the one relating to COVID-19. Indeed, the GDPR provides for the legal grounds to enable the employers and the competent public health authorities to process personal data in the context of epidemics, without the need to obtain the consent of the data subject. This applies for instance when the processing of personal data is necessary for the employers for reasons of public interest in the area of public health or to protect vital interests (Art. 6 and 9 of the GDPR) or to comply with another legal obligation.

For the processing of electronic communication data, such as mobile location data, additional rules apply. The national laws implementing the ePrivacy Directive provide for the principle that the location data can only be used by the operator when they are made anonymous, or with the consent of the individuals. The public authorities should first aim for the processing of location data in an anonymous way (i.e. processing data aggregated in a way that it cannot be reversed to personal data). This could enable to generate reports on the concentration of mobile devices at a certain location (“cartography”).  

When it is not possible to only process anonymous data, Art. 15 of the ePrivacy Directive enables the member states to introduce legislative measures pursuing national security and public security *. This emergency legislation is possible under the condition that it constitutes a necessary, appropriate and proportionate measure within a democratic society. If such measures are introduced, a Member State is obliged to put in place adequate safeguards, such as granting individuals the right to judicial remedy.

Update:

On March 19th, the European Data Protection Board adopted a formal statement on the processing of personal data in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The full statement is available below.

* In this context, it shall be noted that safeguarding public health may fall under the national and/or public security exception.

10 March 2020

Following a decision by the EDPB Chair, the EDPB March Plenary Session has been cancelled due to safety concerns surrounding the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The EDPB hereby follows the example of other EU institutions, such as the European Parliament, which have restricted the number of large-scale meetings.

The March Plenary Session was scheduled to take place on 19 and 20 March. You can find an overview of upcoming EDPB Plenary Meetings here

20 February 2020

On February 18th and 19th, the EEA Supervisory Authorities and the European Data Protection Supervisor, assembled in the European Data Protection Board, met for their eighteenth plenary session. During the plenary, a wide range of topics was discussed.
 
The EDPB and the individual EEA Supervisory Authorities (SAs) contributed to the evaluation and review of the GDPR as required by Art. 97 GDPR. The EDPB is of the opinion that the application of the GDPR in the first 20 months has been successful. Although the need for sufficient resources for all SAs is still a concern and some challenges remain, resulting, for example, from the patchwork of national procedures, the Board is convinced that the cooperation between SAs will result in a common data protection culture and consistent practice. The EDPB is examining possible solutions to overcome these challenges and to improve existing cooperation procedures. It also calls upon the European Commission to check if national procedures impact the effectiveness of the cooperation procedures and considers that, eventually, legislators may also have a role to play in ensuring further harmonisation. In its assessment, the EDPB also addresses issues such as international transfer tools, impact on SMEs, SA resources and development of new technologies. The EDPB concludes that it is premature to revise the GDPR at this point in time.

The EDPB adopted draft guidelines to provide further clarification regarding the application of Articles 46.2 (a) and 46.3 (b) of the GDPR. These articles address transfers of personal data from EEA public authorities or bodies to public bodies in third countries or to international organisations, where these transfers are not covered by an adequacy decision. The guidelines recommend which safeguards to implement in legally binding instruments (art. 46.2 (a)) or in administrative arrangements (Art. 46.3 (b)) to ensure that the level of protection of natural persons under the GDPR is met and not undermined. The guidelines will be submitted for public consultation.

Statement on privacy implications of mergers
Following the announcement of Google LLC’s intention to acquire Fitbit, the EDPB adopted a statement highlighting that the possible further combination and accumulation of sensitive personal data regarding people in Europe by a major tech company could entail a high level of risk to privacy and data protection. The EDPB reminds the parties to the proposed merger of their obligations under the GDPR and to conduct a full assessment of the data protection requirements and privacy implications of the merger in a transparent way. The Board urges the parties to mitigate possible risks to the rights to privacy and data protection before notifying the merger to the European Commission. The EDPB will consider any implications for the protection of personal data in the EEA and stands ready to contribute its advice to the EC if so requested.

Note to editors:
Please note that all documents adopted during the EDPB Plenary are subject to the necessary legal, linguistic and formatting checks and will be made available on the EDPB website once these have been completed.

18 February 2020

On February 18th and 19th, the eighteenth plenary session of the European Data Protection Board is taking place in Brussels. For further information, please consult the agenda.

Agenda of Eighteenth Plenary

30 January 2020

On January 28th and 29th, the EEA Data Protection Authorities and the European Data Protection Supervisor, assembled in the European Data Protection Board, met for their seventeenth plenary session. During the plenary, a wide range of topics was discussed.
 
The EDPB adopted its opinions on the Accreditation Requirements for Codes of Conduct Monitoring Bodies submitted to the Board by the Belgian, Spanish and French supervisory authorities (SAs). These opinions aim to ensure consistency and the correct application of the criteria among EEA SAs.

The EDPB adopted draft Guidelines on Connected Vehicles. As vehicles become increasingly more connected, the amount of data generated about drivers and passengers by these connected vehicles is growing rapidly. The EDPB guidelines focus on the processing of personal data in relation to the non-professional use of connected vehicles by data subjects. More specifically, the guidelines deal with the personal data processed by the vehicle and the data communicated by the vehicle as a connected device. The guidelines will be submitted for public consultation.

The Board adopted the final version of the Guidelines on the processing of Personal Data through Video Devices following public consultation. The guidelines aim to clarify how the GDPR applies to the processing of personal data when using video devices and to ensure the consistent application of the GDPR in this regard. The guidelines cover both traditional video devices and smart video devices. The guidelines address, among others, the lawfulness of processing, including the processing of special categories of data, the applicability of the household exemption and the disclosure of footage to third parties. Following public consultation, several amendments were made.

The EDPB adopted its opinions on the draft accreditation requirements for Certification Bodies submitted to the Board by the UK and Luxembourg SAs. These are the first opinions on accreditation requirements for Certification Bodies adopted by the Board. They aim to establish a consistent and harmonised approach regarding the requirements which SAs and national accreditation bodies will apply when accrediting certification bodies. 

The EDPB adopted its opinion on the draft decision regarding the Fujikura Automotive Europe Group’s Controller Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs), submitted to the Board by the Spanish Supervisory Authority.

Letter on unfair algorithms
The EDPB adopted a letter in response to MEP Sophie in’t Veld’s request concerning the use of unfair algorithms. The letter provides an analysis of the challenges posed by the use of algorithms, an overview of the relevant GDPR provisions and existing guidelines addressing these issues, and describes the work already undertaken by SAs.

Letter to the Council of Europe on the Cybercrime Convention
Following the Board’s contribution to the consultation process on the negotiation of a second additional protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention), several EDPB Members actively participated in the Council of Europe Cybercrime Committee’s (T-CY) Octopus Conference. The Board adopted a follow-up letter to the conference, stressing the need to integrate strong data protection safeguards into the future Additional Protocol to the Convention and to ensure its consistency with Convention 108, as well as with the EU Treaties and Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Note to editors:
Please note that all documents adopted during the EDPB Plenary are subject to the necessary legal, linguistic and formatting checks and will be made available on the EDPB website once these have been completed.

28 January 2020

On January 28th and 29th, the seventeenth plenary session of the European Data Protection Board is taking place in Brussels. For further information, please consult the agenda.

Agenda of Seventeenth Plenary