On September 25, 2018, the French Data Protection Authority (the "CNIL") published the first results of its factual assessment of the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in France and in Europe. When making this assessment, the CNIL first recalled the current status of the French legal framework, and provided key figures on the implementation of the GDPR from the perspective of privacy experts, private individuals and EU supervisory authorities. The CNIL then announced that it will adopt new GDPR tools in the near future. Read the full factual assessment (in French).
Upcoming Consolidation of the French Legal Framework
The French Data Protection Act ("the Act") and its implementing Decree were amended by a law and Decree published respectively on June 21 and August 3, 2018, in order to bring French law in line with the GDPR and implement the EU Data Protection Directive for Police and Criminal Justice Authorities. However, some of the provisions of the Act still remain unchanged and are no longer applicable. In addition, the Act does not mention all new obligations imposed by the GDPR or the new rights of data subjects, and is therefore incomplete. The CNIL recalled that an ordinance is expected to be adopted by the end of this year to re-write the Act and facilitate readability of the French data protection framework.
Gradual Rolling Out of the GDPR by Privacy Experts
The CNIL noted that 24,500 organizations have appointed a data protection officer ("DPO"), which represents 13,000 DPOs. In comparison, only 5,000 DPOs were appointed under the previous data protection framework. Since May 25, 2018, the CNIL has also received approximately 7 data breach notifications a day, totaling more than 600 data breach notifications, which affected 15 million individuals. The CNIL continues to receive a large number of authorization requests in the health sector (more than 100 requests filed since May 25, 2018, in particular for clinical trial purposes).
Individuals' Unprecedented GDPR Awareness
Since May 25, 2018, the CNIL has received 3,767 complaints from individuals. This represents an increase of 64% compared to the number of complaints received during the same period in 2017, and can be explained by the widespread media coverage of the GDPR and cases such as Cambridge Analytica. EU supervisory authorities are currently handling more than 200 cross-border complaints under the cooperation procedure provided for by the GDPR, and the CNIL is a supervisory authority concerned for most of these cases.
Effective European Cooperation Under the GDPR
The CNIL recalled that a total of 18 GDPR guidelines have been adopted at the EU level and 7 guidelines are currently being drawn up by the European Data Protection Board ("EDPB") (e.g., guidelines on the territorial scope of the GDPR, data transfers and video surveillance). Further, the IT platform chosen to support cooperation and consistency procedures under the GDPR has been effective since May 25, 2018. With respect to Data Protection Impact Assessments ("DPIAs"), the CNIL has submitted to the EDPB a list of processing operations requiring a DPIA. Once validated by the EDPB, this list and additional guidelines will be published by the CNIL.
In terms of the CNIL's upcoming actions or initiatives, the CNIL announced that it will shortly propose the following new tools:
- "Referentials" (i.e., guidelines) relating to the processing of personal data for HR and customer management purposes. These referentials are intended to update the CNIL's well established doctrine in light of the new requirements of the GDPR. The draft referentials will be open for public consultation. Once finalized, the CNIL announced its intention to promote those referentials at the EU level.
- A Model Regulation regarding biometric data. According to Article 9(4) of the GDPR, EU Member States may maintain and introduce further conditions, including limitations, with regard to the processing of biometric data. France introduced such conditions by amending the French Data Protection Act in order to allow the processing of biometric data for the purposes of controlling access to a company's premises and/or devices and apps used by staff members to perform their job duties if that processing complies with the CNIL's Model Regulation. Compliance with that Model Regulation constitutes an exception from the prohibition to process biometric data.
- A first certification procedure. In May 2018, the CNIL launched a public consultation on the certification of the DPO, which ended on June 22, 2018. The CNIL will finalize the referentials relating to the certification of the DPO by the end of this month.
- Compliance packs. The CNIL confirmed that it will continue to adopt compliance packs, (i.e., guidelines for a particular sector or industry). The CNIL also announced its intention to promote some of these compliance packs at the EU level (such as the compliance pack on connected vehicles) in order to develop a common European doctrine that could be endorsed by the EDPB.
- Codes of conduct. A dozen codes of conduct are currently being prepared, in particular codes of conduct on medical research and cloud infrastructures.
- A massive open online course. This course will help participants familiarize themselves with the fundamental principles of the GDPR.
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