European Commission Publishes Details of its Forthcoming Data Act

The European Commission has formally launched its legislative initiative aimed at increasing access to and further use of data, so that more public and private actors can benefit from technologies such as Big Data and machine learning. The Commission has published its inception impact assessment on the forthcoming Data Act, on which interested stakeholders can submit comments until 25 June 2021. In parallel, the Commission has launched a public consultation for the legislative initiative, to be conducted by an online questionnaire, with a deadline of 3 September 2021. Feedback will be taken into account for further development and fine tuning of the initiative to be tabled in Q3-Q4 2021.

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The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act: Senate Passes Sweeping $250 Billion Bill to Bolster Scientific Innovation and Compete With China

On Tuesday, June 8, 2021, the U.S. Senate adopted by a 68-32 vote S. 1260, the United States Innovation and Competition Act, a nearly 2,400-page, $250 billion bill designed to boost U.S. semiconductor production, scientific research, development of artificial intelligence, and space exploration in the face of growing economic, technological, and military competition from China.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called the bill a “once-in-a-generation investment in American science and American technology.” The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Sens. Schumer and Todd Young, R-Ind., would invest more than $200 billion into U.S. scientific and technological innovation over the next five years.

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Nevada Updates its Existing Online Privacy Notice Statutes

On June 2, 2021, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed SB260, a bill that will amend the state’s existing privacy notice legislation, NRS 603A.300 to .360 (“Existing NV Privacy Law”). SB260 amends the Existing NV Privacy Law by exempting certain persons and information collected about a consumer from the law’s privacy requirements, expanding the types of entities that must facilitate consumer privacy opt-out rights, providing new and updated definitions, authorizing the opportunity to remedy a failure to comply with certain requirements, and updating other provisions to reflect the addition of data broker entities. Most notably, SB260’s addition of “data broker” to the existing statutory framework, in addition to the updated definition of “sale”, provides consumers with a broader opt-out right and likely brings more entities under the scope of the law. That said, even after the amendments, the Nevada law remains narrower than the California Consumer Protection Act (“CCPA”), as well as the forthcoming California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) and  Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (“VCDPA”) that go into effect on January 1, 2023.

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NHS’ Plans to Share Patient Records with Third Parties

NHS Digital (the national custodian for health and care data in England) in May 2021, announced a new data sharing initiative called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) service. The launch of the GPDPR could result in the historical medical records of up to 55 million patients in England being shared with third parties.

Although the GP data collection was set to take place as of  July 1, 2021, on June 8, 2021 it was announced that the launch will be postponed to September 1, 2021.

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Supreme Court Limits Scope of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

It is a common story: An employee who knows he is about to leave his employer for a competitor uses his last days of computer access to download (or email himself) confidential information from his employer’s network. Once his employer discovers the misappropriation, the employee has moved on to his next job, leaving the employer scrambling to protect itself, often through a tangle of state-law tort and trade-secret claims.

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European Commission Adopts New Standard Contractual Clauses

The European Commission (EC) on June 4, 2021 adopted a new set of Standard Contractual Clauses for international data transfers (New SCCs). The New SCCs take into account the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) decision in Schrems II, requirements under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and according to the EC “address the realities faced by modern business”. In particular, as it relates to companies ongoing Schrems II assessments the New SCCs provide details around the steps an importer should take when subject to a request for disclosure from a public authority, and helpfully confirm that in carrying out the assessment of a third country legal framework the factors which can be taken into consideration.

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TSA Issues Directive to Enhance Pipeline Cybersecurity

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) issued a Security Directive, “Enhancing Pipeline Cybersecurity” on May 28, laying out new cybersecurity requirements for operators of liquids and natural gas pipelines and LNG facilities designated as critical infrastructure.

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