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The threat to global health caused by Covid-19 has led to unprecedented collaboration from the global scientific research community to urgently develop a vaccine. Given the prevalence of data sharing and open science, combined with the sensitive nature of the data involved, data protection concerns have quickly emerged.

The GDPR provides special rules for processing health data for scientific research purposes that are also applicable in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) recently published Guidelines 03/2020 on the processing of data concerning health for scientific research purposes in the context of Covid-19. The EDPB acknowledges the challenges faced by researchers operating with urgency, and using health data that is not always obtained directly from the data subject for the specific purpose of scientific research. The guidelines provide clarity on issues such as: the legal basis for processing health data; data subjects’ rights, and how health data can be lawfully transferred to a third country outside the EEA for scientific research purposes connected to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Continue Reading EDPB publishes guidelines on processing health data for Covid-19 research

The Data Protection Commission (DPC) has issued its first fine under the GDPR.  Tusla, the child and family state agency, has been fined €75,000 for three data breaches.  It has been reported that the DPC has filed papers in the Circuit Court, in order for the court to confirm the fine. The purpose of this confirmation mechanism, which is required by the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018, is to ensure that the DPC’s decision to impose a fine has due regard to fair procedures and constitutional justice.

Continue Reading Irish Data Protection Commission issues first GDPR fine

The Annual Report of the Data Protection Commission (DPC) for 2019 reveals some interesting trends and statistics. The DPC received a record 7,215 complaints in 2019 (75% more than in 2018).  At least 40% of the DPC’s resources were devoted to the handling of individual complaints (as opposed to large-scale and more systemic

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has published updated Guidelines 05/2020 on Consent under the GDPR, replacing the previous Article 29 Working Party Consent Guidelines published in April 2018. The purpose of the updated guidelines is to provide clarity on: (i) data subject consent in relation to cookie walls (which are not allowed), and (ii) scrolling or swiping through a webpage or similar actions (which does not constitute valid consent). ​The paragraphs (38-41 and 86) concerning these two issues have been revised and updated, while the rest of the document has been left unchanged, except for editorial changes.

Continue Reading EDPB issue updated Guidelines on Consent

In a landmark case, the UK Supreme Court has ruled that supermarket chain Morrisons is not vicariously liable for a deliberate data breach committed by a former rogue employee. The decision shows that an employer is unlikely to be liable for a malicious data breach committed by an employee, where his/her wrongful conduct is not closely connected with his/her tasks at work.

Continue Reading UK Supreme Court finds employer not vicariously liable for data breach

Covid-19 is presenting unique and unprecedented challenges for employers who have to grapple with often complex HR and data protection related issues in a rapidly escalating crisis. Employers are anxious to ensure continuity of their business, the health and safety of their employees and compliance with data protection obligations where these arise.

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On 12 November 2019, the EDPB published its finalised Guidelines on Territorial Scope of the GDPR (3/2018). The Guidelines aim to assist companies and supervisory authorities in determining whether a particular processing activity falls within the territorial scope of the GDPR.

Continue Reading EDPB publishes finalised Guidelines on Territorial Scope of the GDPR

The Minister of Finance has passed new Regulations, the Data Protection Act 2018 (section 60(6)) (Central Bank of Ireland) Regulations 2019, permitting data subjects’ rights under Articles 12-22 and Article 34, and controllers’ obligations under Article 5 GDPR, to be restricted to the extent necessary and proportionate to allow the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) to carry out certain functions.

Continue Reading New Regulations permitting Central Bank to restrict individuals’ data protection rights