Articles

Article 29 Data Protection Working Party issues Opinion on Personal Data Breach Notifications

Article 29 Data Protection Working Party issues Opinion on Personal Data Breach Notifications

Article 29 Data Protection Working Party issues Opinion on Personal Data Breach Notifications

15.07.2014

On 25 March 2014, the Article 29 Working Party (“WP 29”) issued Opinion 03/2014 (the “Opinion”). The Opinion provides guidance to data controllers to help them decide whether to notify data subjects about a personal data breach.

This article was co-written by Valerie Vanryckeghem

In the first part of the Opinion, the WP 29 considers the notification obligations of telecommunications service providers that are imposed by the Directive 2002/58/EC. This Directive requires personal data breaches to be notified to the competent national authority. In addition, when the data breach is likely to adversely affect the personal data or privacy of a data subject, the data controller must also notify the data subject about the breach without undue delay.

However, the Directive 2002/58/EC as well as the Proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation (the “Proposed Regulation”) contain an exemption to this notification obligation. That is, if the provider has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the competent authority that it has implemented appropriate technological protection measures to render the data unintelligible to any person who is not authorized to access it and if those measures were applied to the data concerned by the security breach, then notification of a personal data breach to a data subject is not required.

The WP 29 advises controllers to take appropriate technological and organizational measures to ensure a level of security that is appropriate to the risk represented by the processing so that they can rely on the exemption and avoid the need to notify the data subject. In this respect, the WP 29 notes that data controllers should proceed with notification when they have doubts about the likelihood of the adverse effects on the personal data or privacy of the data subjects.

In the second part of the Opinion, the WP29 lists both examples of data breaches where the affected data subjects should be notified as well as examples of cases where notification to the affected data subjects would not be required. The WP 29 also gives examples of technical measures which, if they had been in place prior to the breach, might have allowed for the avoidance of the need to notify the data subject, such as a confidentiality data breach that only concerns either encrypted data with a state of the art algorithm or salted/keyed, hashed data with a state of the art hash function (assuming all the relevant keys and salts are not compromised).

Finally, the Opinion talks about the various considerations companies face when assessing whether or not to notify the affected data subjects. The WP 29 emphasizes the need to factor in likely secondary adverse effects on the data subjects and indicates that companies should notify even if only one data subject is affected.

The Opinion can be found on http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/article-29/.

Student trainee Steffie De Cock also contributed to this article.

 

Click here to see a printable version of this article

All rights reserved. Care has been taken to ensure that the content of this e-bulletin is as accurate as possible. However the accuracy and completeness of the information in this e-bulletin, largely based upon third party sources, cannot be guaranteed. The materials contained in this e-bulletin have been prepared and provided by Stibbe for information purposes only. They do not constitute legal or other professional advice and readers should not act upon the information contained in this e-bulletin without consulting legal counsel. Consultation of this e-bulletin will not create an attorney-client relationship between Stibbe and the reader. The e-bulletin may be used only for personal use and all other uses are prohibited.

Team

Related news

22.07.2021 NL law
Towards a European legal framework for the development and use of Artificial Intelligence

Short Reads - Back in 2014, Stephen Hawking said, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” Although the use of artificial intelligence is nothing new and dates back to Alan Turing (the godfather of computational theory), prominent researchers – along with Stephen Hawking – have expressed their concerns about the unregulated use of AI systems and their impact on society as we know it.

Read more

19.07.2021 BE law
One year of Schrems II: a state of affairs for international data transfers

Articles - International data transfers have been the subject of intense debates ever since the Court of Justice issued its landmark judgement of Schrems I, on 6 October 2015. The intensity of the debate was further reinforced since the Schrems II decision one year ago, on 16 July 2020. The decision annulled the U.S. Privacy Shield and severely tightened the rules on the use of standard contractual clauses (“SCCs”).

Read more

18.05.2021 NL law
Kroniek: De bestuursrechtelijke aspecten van de AVG

Articles - Tom Barkhuysen, Steven Bastiaans en Fatma Çapkurt (Universiteit Leiden) schreven samen de eerste editie van de nieuwe jaarlijkse NTB kroniek: de bestuursrechtelijke aspecten van de AVG. Hierin bespreken zij onder meer de meest relevante (bestuursrechtelijke) jurisprudentie van het afgelopen jaar op het gebied van de AVG.

Read more

18.06.2021 NL law
FAQ: Wat houdt het Wetsvoorstel elektronische gegevensuitwisseling in de zorg (Wegiz) in en wat is de verhouding tot de AVG?

Short Reads - (Digitale) gegevensuitwisseling in de zorg is een actueel thema. Illustratief is een item bij EenVandaag van april 2021 waarin de analoge werkwijze bij gegevensuitwisseling in de zorg wordt aangekaart, maar ook dit artikel in het NRC van afgelopen maand waarin verslag werd gedaan van een datalek waardoor duizenden gevoelige patiëntgegevens op straat kwamen te liggen. 

Read more

04.05.2021 NL law
Participatie en privacyregels: hoe te combineren onder de Omgevingswet?

Short Reads - In het stelsel van de Omgevingswet (Ow) is een belangrijke rol bedacht voor participatie bij de totstandkoming van besluiten. Het beoogde resultaat: tijdig belangen, meningen en creativiteit op tafel krijgen en daarmee een groter draagvlak en kwalitatief betere besluitvorming bereiken. Door een grotere betrokkenheid van meer personen gaan overheden en initiatiefnemers ook meer persoonsgegevens verwerken. Dit brengt privacyrisico’s met zich mee. Wat regelt de Ow op het gebied van privacy, de verwerking van persoonsgegevens en datagebruik?

Read more