May 21, 2024

Data Privacy Law Updates Globally: Focus on Europe

Data Privacy Law Updates Globally: Focus on Europe

In recent years, the landscape of data privacy laws in Europe has been dynamic and evolving. As businesses continue to adapt to these changes, it is crucial to stay informed about the latest updates to ensure compliance and protect consumer data. This blog post will provide an overview of significant data privacy law updates across Europe in 2024, highlighting key changes and their implications for businesses.

1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Enforcement

Since its implementation in May 2018, the GDPR has been a cornerstone of data privacy regulation in Europe. Recent updates and enforcement actions have emphasized the need for businesses to maintain robust data protection practices. Notable developments include:

  • Increased Fines: Authorities have imposed higher fines for non-compliance, with significant penalties levied against major tech companies. For instance, in January 2024, a prominent social media platform was fined €390 million for GDPR violations related to targeted advertising practices.
  • Stricter Data Processing Rules: The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has issued guidelines on data processing activities, clarifying requirements for obtaining valid consent and conducting Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs).

2. ePrivacy Regulation (ePR)

The ePrivacy Regulation, intended to complement the GDPR, has been in the legislative process for several years. Expected to be finalized and come into effect in 2024, the ePR will introduce stricter rules on electronic communications, cookies, and direct marketing. Key points include:

  • Enhanced Consent Requirements: The ePR will require explicit consent for cookies and tracking technologies, aligning with GDPR standards.
  • Stronger Protection for Electronic Communications: The regulation aims to ensure the confidentiality of electronic communications, covering emails, messaging apps, and online calls.

3. National Data Protection Laws

Individual European countries have also updated their national data protection laws to align with the GDPR and address specific local concerns. Examples include:

  • France: The French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) has introduced new guidelines on biometric data processing, emphasizing the need for heightened security measures and explicit consent.
  • Germany: The German Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) has been amended to include provisions on employee data protection, reflecting the growing importance of safeguarding personal information in the workplace.
  • Spain: Spain has updated its data protection regulations to incorporate additional safeguards for children's data, ensuring that minors receive special protection online.

4. Cross-Border Data Transfers

The Schrems II ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in 2020 invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield framework, creating significant challenges for international data transfers. In response, the European Commission has:

  • Updated Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs): New SCCs were introduced in June 2021 to provide a more robust mechanism for transferring data outside the EU, incorporating additional safeguards to address the concerns raised by the Schrems II decision.
  • Ongoing Negotiations: The EU and the US are actively negotiating a new data transfer framework to replace the Privacy Shield, aiming to provide greater legal certainty for businesses in 2024.

5. Upcoming Legislation

Several new legislative proposals are in the pipeline, which could further impact data privacy practices in Europe in 2024:

  • Digital Services Act (DSA): Expected to come into effect in 2024, the DSA aims to create a safer digital space by regulating online platforms and services, with provisions on content moderation, transparency, and user rights.
  • Artificial Intelligence Act: This proposed regulation seeks to establish a legal framework for AI systems, addressing issues related to data protection, transparency, and accountability. It is anticipated to be finalized in 2024.

Actionable Advice for Businesses

To navigate the evolving data privacy landscape in Europe, businesses should:

  1. Stay Informed: Regularly monitor updates from data protection authorities and industry news.
  2. Review Compliance Programs: Ensure your data protection practices align with the latest GDPR guidelines and national laws.
  3. Conduct Regular Audits: Periodically review data processing activities and consent mechanisms to ensure compliance.
  4. Implement Robust Data Transfer Mechanisms: Use updated SCCs and stay informed about new data transfer frameworks.
  5. Prepare for Upcoming Regulations: Anticipate the impact of the ePR, DSA, and AI Act on your operations and plan accordingly.


Staying abreast of data privacy law updates in Europe is essential for businesses to ensure compliance and protect consumer trust. The evolving regulatory landscape in 2024 requires continuous adaptation and proactive measures to meet the stringent requirements set forth by the GDPR and other emerging legislation. By understanding these changes and implementing effective data protection strategies, businesses can navigate the complexities of data privacy and maintain a competitive edge in the digital economy.