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Sensitive data ruling by Europe’s top court could force broad privacy reboot

Sensitive data ruling by Europe’s top court could force broad privacy reboot Image
  • Posted on 02nd Aug, 2022 21:03 PM
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A ruling put out yesterday by the European Union’s top court could have major implications for online platforms that use background tracking and profiling to target users with behavioral ads or to feed recommender engines that are designed to surface so-called ‘personalized’ conte…

A ruling put out yesterday by the European Union’s top court could have major implications for online platforms that use background tracking and profiling to target users with behavioral ads or to feed recommender engines that are designed to surface so-called ‘personalized’ content.

The impacts could be even broader — with privacy law experts suggesting the judgement could dial up legal risk for a variety of other forms of online processing, from dating apps to location tracking and more. Although they suggest fresh legal referrals are also likely as operators seek to unpack what could be complex practical difficulties arising from the judgement.

The referral to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) relates to a Lithuanian case concerning national anti-corruption legislation. But the impact of the judgement is likely to be felt across the region as it crystalizes how the bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which sets the legal framework for processing personal data, should be interpreted when it comes to data ops in which sensitive inferences can be made about individuals.

Privacy watchers were quick to pay attention — and are predicting substantial follow-on impacts for enforcement as the CJEU’s guidance essentially instructs the region’s network of data protection agencies to avoid a too-narrow interpretation of what constitutes sensitive data, implying that the bloc’s strictest privacy protections will become harder for platforms to circumvent.

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