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Privacy Insider newsletter:                Feb 16, 2021

  • by Angelique Carson
  • last updated February 16, 2021
  • 4 min read
Privacy Insider newsletter:                Feb 16, 2021

While no major breaches were disclosed or news-making settlements made, the past week still produced some big privacy news.

First, the EU Commission plans to deem the U.K. an "adequate" third country, meaning data can continue to flow across borders despite its exit from the EU. 

Under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies may transfer data outside of the EU only under certain conditions. The European Commission must deem the home country's data protection rules are comparable to that of the EU.

It's a critical development for companies that transfer data from the EU to the U.K.

EU Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova said the U.K. had a leg up on countries outside of the European Economic Area with fundamentally different legal frameworks. The U.K. passed its Data Protection Act in 2018. That law implemented the GDPR into the U.K.'s legal system.

But the Commission's decision to declare the U.K. adequate doesn't mean it's safe forever. The agreement will be reviewed every few years. 

Second, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has called for planned law reforms to include a ban on targeted advertising.

Let me just say that again: The EDPS wants to ban all targeted advertising.

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The EU Commission is working on the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. The EDPS wants EU lawmakers to consider including the ban to ensure the "fair processing of personal data."

It's a call to action that should send shivers down the online advertising industry's back. For years, the industry has been fighting privacy advocates, claiming its practices are legal under the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Advocates claim the adtech ecosystem is the Wild Wild West. They say online advertising transactions between bidders and buyers expose a tremendous amount of personal data given the various supply chain players. Consumers aren't privy to those transactions and have not given consent.

It's unclear whether the EDPS, Wojciech Wiewiórowski, has significant backing here. If his request gains traction, we can expect a battle royale. The adtech industry is not known for being shy. It will surely get out the proverbial pitchforks before it allows any government to shut its lucrative practices. 

Enjoy reading, and we'll see you next week!


  1. EU to allow UK data flows post-Brexit

    The European Commission will allow data to continue flowing to the U.K. despite its exit from the European Union, Financial Times reports. The Commission will approve a draft decision this week stating that the U.K. has an adequate level of protection for EU citizens' data to cross its borders. The decision to grant the U.K. "adequacy" is a relief to companies regularly transferring data. The Commission will review the agreement every four years.
    Read Story 2. Companies hit by SolarWinds hack facing costs, liabilities 

    Victims of what some call the worst security breach in U.S. history are facing high costs and potential liabilities, Bloomberg Law reports. Companies are still trying to figure out if the SolarWinds breach implicated their data. That requires a "digital forensics investigation, typically involving a third-party security vendor," the report states. If a company determines a breach, the victim company must notify those affected and, potentially, state regulators or attorneys general. 
    Read Story

    3. EU regulator calls for new rules to include complete ban on targeted advertising 

    The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has called for a ban on targeted advertising. Wojciech Wiewiórowski released a statement calling for the ban within the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, which the European Commission is currently negotiating. It published drafts of both proposals in December 2020. The rules aim to "harmonize the responsibilities of online platforms and service providers and to bolster the oversight over the content policies of platforms." A ban on targeting advertising would be devastating to the online advertising industry.
    Read Story

    4. Virginia to pass privacy law: Will U.S. government follow suit?

    Try Osano Free!

    Virginia is on the brink of passing a state privacy law, and several other states are considering their own. Washington, New York, Oklahoma and Utah are all considering various proposals. For years the U.S. has considered passing a federal privacy law. Now, industry pressure to harmonize the rules may finally push the U.S. to act, The Hill reports. 
    Read Story

    5. Florida to consider consumer privacy law 

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced a new data privacy bill aiming "to shift the balance of power back to Floridians and allow them to have the ultimate say" in how companies use their data, The Capitolist reports. At a press conference this week, DeSantis introduced HB 969, the Consumer Data Privacy Bill, which would allow Floridians to opt-out of the sale of their data by third parties. It also would protect biometric information such as fingerprints and retinal scans. 
    Read Story

    6. EU groups file privacy complaints against TikTok 

    Consumer protection groups in Europe have filed a series of complaints alleging TikTok violates EU law, TechCrunch reports. The European Consumer Organisation filed a complaint with the European Commission and EU data protection authorities alleging "misleading data processing and privacy practices" concerning adults and children. 
    Read Story

About The Author · Angelique Carson

Angelique Carson is the Director of Content at Osano, a B-corp privacy platform that makes compliance with privacy laws easy for companies of all sizes. She is a professional writer and editor who has worked in journalism and publishing for more than ten years. Previously Angelique was an editor at the International Association of Privacy Professionals and the host of The Privacy Advisor Podcast. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her puppy Miles.