The unexpected consequences of the pandemic

As privacy professionals, I think most of us agree that Brexit is not good for privacy. Apart from problems if an adequacy agreement is not reached, there are other aspects to consider. We understand that at the technical level, talks are going well, but data protection may well end up being a victim of disagreements on other issues at the political level. While a UK-EU adequacy decision would be a win-win situation, organisations need to think of other options now such as Standard Contractual Clauses, the future of which will be decided by the Court of Justice of the European Union on 16 July, and Binding Corporate Rules.

The Coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on how citizens view data privacy. According to a survey by the Data and Direct Marketing Association, public trust in brands and marketing is decreasing. Also, 57% of marketing and data industry professionals now believe that Test and Trace will negatively impact consumer willingness to share personal data. Another consequence of the pandemic is home working, and the rise of online scams and phishing attacks. Read on p.8 how organisations can prepare for the extra security risks due to working from home.

Our correspondent, on the other hand, says that privacy is the direction of travel in Adtech, and that consumers are looking for privacy-friendly Adtech alternatives.

Last week, many publicans and restaurant owners in England suddenly became data controllers for the first time due to the government recommendation to collect customer data for Test and Trace purposes. We have released a podcast on this issue which is available on our website and all the main podcast directories. The development of a UK tracing app has been delayed – another of our Podcasts discusses developments at European level.

The Children's Code has now been laid before Parliament. As the government's Online Harms White Paper has suggested appointing Ofcom as the new online harms regulator, we may see synergies between the ICO and Ofcom in this field.

Laura Linkomies
Editor, Privacy Laws & Business

July 2020