Late last month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the first US Internet of Things (IoT) cybersecurity legislation: Senate Bill 327 and Assembly Bill 1906. Starting on January 1, 2020, manufacturers of regulated connected devices are required to equip such devices with “reasonable security features” designed to protect a connected device and any information it holds from “unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.” This legislation was prompted by what the bill’s sponsor viewed as a “lack of security features on internet connected devices undermin[ing] the privacy and security of California’s consumers.”
On September 27, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced proposed settlement agreements with four companies it alleges violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by misrepresenting their certification status and compliance with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. This latest set of enforcement actions brings the FTC’s Privacy Shield related enforcement to settlements with eight defendants since the framework was adopted in July 2016 and it also introduced a couple of new FTC models of Privacy Shield enforcement.
As the most comprehensive privacy law to be enacted in the United States thus far, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has inevitably invited comparisons to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). At first glance, it is clear that the drafters of the CCPA (and the ballot measure that spurred its passage) drew inspiration from the GDPR. However, the CCPA is not a carbon copy of the GDPR, and a GDPR compliance program will not automatically meet the requirements of the CCPA. As businesses begin their CCPA compliance efforts, awareness of these laws’ similarities and differences will be key to creating efficient and effective compliance programs that capitalize on prior GDPR compliance work but also address the unique nuances of the CCPA.
This post discusses litigation exposure that businesses collecting personal information about California consumers should consider in the wake of the California Legislature’s passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). The CCPA creates a limited private right of action for suits arising out of data breaches. At the same time, it also precludes individuals from using it as a basis for a private right of action under any other statute. Both features of the law have potentially far-reaching implications and will garner the attention of an already relentless plaintiffs’ bar when it goes into effect January 1, 2020.
The National Science Foundation is seeking public comment on US policy for artificial intelligence, according to the Federal Register Notice of Request for Information (RFI) filed in September 26, 2018. Specifically, the RFI requests input from the public as to whether the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan (AI Strategic Plan) should be updated or improved. Comments to the RFI are due to the National Science Foundation by October 26, 2018.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a Request for Comments (RFC) on a new consumer privacy approach that is designed to focus on outcomes instead of prescriptive mandates. The RFC presents an important opportunity for organizations to provide legal and policy input to the administration, and comments are due October 26.
The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) provides a series of new compliance obligations and operational challenges for companies doing business in California. A vital first step for any company subject to the CCPA and looking to forge a practical path forward is to inventory the personal information (“PI”) that the company collects, stores, and shares with others. As part of our ongoing series on the CCPA and its implications, this post sets out key issues and questions to consider when contemplating a data mapping exercise.
Words matter. Nowhere is this truer than in legislation, where word choices—often the product of long debate and imperfect compromise—determine the scope and impact of a law. Legislative history can speak volumes about those word choices, and the unique legislative history of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) only highlights the importance of understanding the terms used in the act. We thus focus here on discussing some of the CCPA’s key definitional terms.
We have heard the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) called many things since its enactment on June 28, 2018. Our experience to date has confirmed the compliance challenge ahead for organizations that engage with the residents of the world’s fifth-largest economy. We will explore the ramifications for businesses of this seminal legislation in this multi-part series, “The Challenge Ahead” authored by members of Hogan Lovells’ CCPA team. In this first installment, we describe recent activity to enact so-called “technical” amendments to the CCPA.
On July 24, members of the Hogan Lovells global privacy team presented a webinar on the new California Consumer Privacy Act, a ground-breaking new data privacy law that some are calling the United States’ answer to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. In this post, we provide links to the recorded webinar and slide deck.
California continues to be a first mover in privacy in the United States, enacting the US’s toughest and most comprehensive privacy legislation on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Unlike existing state and federal privacy legislation that has generally focused on specific sectors or privacy issues, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (AB 375), applies broadly to businesses that collect personal information about California consumers and aims to create significant new consumer privacy rights. In doing so, it creates significant new obligations for businesses.
In a landmark 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court held that the government conducts a search under the Fourth Amendment and therefore, absent exigent circumstances, needs a warrant supported by probable cause when obtaining cell-site location information (i.e., records of the cell towers to which mobile devices connect). The majority reached that conclusion based on the determination that such location records are subject to a reasonable expectation of privacy that continues to apply even though the location records are disclosed to the cell phone user’s wireless carrier, a third party.
On June 22, California lawmakers announced Assembly Bill 375, a broad-based consumer privacy bill that is intended to serve as an alternative to the California Consumer Privacy Act, a far-reaching consumer privacy initiative that is on track to be on the California ballot this November. The chief sponsor of the CCPA, Alastair Mactaggart, has stated that he will withdraw the initiative from the ballot if AB 375 is passed this week.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is driving a regulatory wave to safeguard data against cyber attacks and privacy breaches, and the automobile industry will feel the impact. Autonomous and connected vehicles are essentially “rolling smart devices,” and as they enter the mainstream in the EU and United States, automakers are increasingly reliant on data for safe, efficient vehicle operations. But security and privacy concerns and penalties for regulatory noncompliance demand that manufacturers review their policies — and perspectives — on data storage and use. In this podcast, we will discuss how cybersecurity, data privacy, and ownership concerns are influencing the development of connected and autonomous vehicles.
Now that the dust has settled from the D.C. Circuit’s highly anticipated Telephone Consumer Protection Act decision in ACA International, et al, v. FCC, the Federal Communications Commission is going back to the drawing board in a new Public Notice that seeks comment on foundational TCPA issues.
The FTC has approved the first-ever petition to reopen and modify a privacy-related consent order. The petition, filed by Sears Holdings Management Corporation, sought to amend the terms of Sears’ 2009 consent order, which settled allegations that Sears did not adequately disclose the extent to which desktop software it distributed collected information from consumers. After reviewing Sears’ petition and public comments, the Commission agreed with Sears that, as a result of changes in the mobile application marketplace, the Order’s requirements as applied to Sears’ mobile apps were “burdensome and counterproductive, both for consumers and Sears.” Hogan Lovells Partner Michelle Kisloff, Senior Associate Paul Otto, and Associate Joe Vladeck represented Sears in its petition.
Nothing challenges the effectiveness of data protection law like technological innovation. You think you have cracked a technology neutral framework and then along comes the next evolutionary step in the chain to rock the boat. It happened with the cloud. It happened with social media, with mobile, with online behavioural targeting and with the Internet of Things. And from the combination of all of that, artificial intelligence is emerging as the new testing ground. 21st century artificial intelligence relies on machine learning, and machine learning relies on…? You guessed it: Data. Artificial intelligence is essentially about problem solving and for that we need data, as much data as possible. Against this background, data privacy and cybersecurity legal frameworks around the world are attempting to shape the use of that data in a way that achieves the best of all worlds: progress and protection for individuals. Is that realistically achievable?
In the same week that the automotive industry gathers in Washington, D.C. for the 2018 Washington Auto Show, a cross-section of automotive stakeholders, government officials, and consumer and privacy advocates came together at Hogan Lovells’ Washington office to discuss privacy issues facing connected vehicles. The half-day conference, co-hosted by Hogan Lovells and the Future of Privacy Forum, convened on January 23, with the theme of “Privacy and the Connected Vehicle: Navigating the Road Ahead.” Panels focused on the privacy landscape surrounding automobiles and connectivity generally, regulatory developments and areas of government interest, and the effect of emerging technologies on business models and privacy practices in the automotive space. With lively discussion throughout and a wide array of perspectives, several key themes emerged.
Growing evidence suggests that existing Telephone Consumer Protection Act compliance challenges, and the current TCPA litigation landscape, are increasingly a threat to many U.S. companies – particularly small businesses that have fewer resources and could face financial ruin if targeted by a class action lawsuit. To help address this issue and support the U.S. economy, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission should revise the current TCPA framework and facilitate reasonable, practical compliance approaches for companies attempting in good faith to communicate with customers.
Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed three of six claims the Federal Trade Commission asserted against D-Link Systems related to its sale of routers and IP cameras and related software and services. The decision has implications for the pleading standards courts use to evaluate such claims at the motion to dismiss stage and for the FTC’s assertion of unfairness claims based on alleged likelihood of substantial consumer harm.
The six-year fight over the type of harm a plaintiff must allege to satisfy the “injury in fact” requirement for lawsuits alleging false reporting of credit information took its latest turn this week. On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, on remand from the United States Supreme Court, issued its opinion- hyperlink to the opinion] in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, a highly-watched case challenging whether a plaintiff can satisfy Article III standing based solely on a technical violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Plaintiff Thomas Robins brought a putative class action for willful violations of the FCRA against Spokeo, Inc., a company that generates profiles about people based on publicly available data. Among other things, Robins averred that Spokeo published an allegedly inaccurate profile about him on its website and therefore harmed his employment prospects at a time when he was out of work. The Ninth Circuit’s three-judge panel held that the publication of materially inaccurate information about Robins sufficed as concrete injury for purposes of Article III standing, even without specific allegations of tangible harm from that publication.
The Federal Trade Commission released an updated guidance document for complying with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The revised guidance, released on June 21, 2017, explicitly identifies connected toys and other Internet of Things devices as being covered under COPPA and adds clarity to web operators’ responsibility for the activities of third parties, such as ad networks and plug-ins, that collect personal information protected under COPPA. It also includes recently approved methods for obtaining verifiable parental consent.
In May, a Florida state court dismissed a plaintiff’s claim that the terms of service for popular mobile game Pokémon GO violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The case illustrates how establishing injury continues to be a key hurdle for plaintiffs in litigation involving online services, and shows that a well-framed choice of law provision can help protect providers of online services.
Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office released a technology assessment of the Internet of Things for Congressional members of the IoT Caucus. The GAO report offers an introduction to IoT; reviews the many uses and their associated benefits that connected devices may bring to consumers, industry, and the public sector; and highlights the potential implications of the use of IoT, including information security challenges, privacy challenges, and government oversight. The report also identifies areas of apparent consensus among experts regarding the challenges posed by IoT, though the appropriate responses are disputed. Accordingly, the report may act as a foundation for future policymaker discussions about regulating IoT.