*This article was first published by the American Bar Association Infrastructure and Regulated Industries in Summer 2019.
Every year, as the calendar turns to June, the legal community looks to the Supreme Court. Eager to get to the Term’s end, the Justices rush to complete all of the outstanding opinions. Since the most difficult and important cases usually take the longest to work out, they are typically the stragglers. June is thus the time when the “blockbuster” opinions are issued—the cases that law professors analyze in their tenure pieces and that law school students study, quite possibly for years to come.
With about half a year to go until the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)’s effective date, and with significant amendments still percolating to define the scope and impact of the CCPA come 2020, other states continue to consider whether to adopt new and broader privacy laws of their own, with Nevada recently taking the distinction of being the first to follow the CCPA trend. While the scope and obligations of the Nevada law is significantly narrower than the CCPA and thus largely will align with current CCPA implementation projects, the new Nevada law does expand upon the CCPA in one particularly notable way—it moves the deadline to facilitate opt-outs of sales of personal information up to October 2019. (more…)
More and more entities are deploying machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate tasks previously performed by humans. Such efforts carry with them real benefits, such as the enhancement of operational efficiency and the reduction of costs, but they also raise a number of concerns regarding their potential impacts on human society, particularly as computer algorithms are increasingly used to determine important outcomes like individuals’ treatment within the criminal justice system.
This mixture of benefits and concerns is starting to attract the interest of regulators. Efforts in the European Union, Canada, and the United States have initiated an ongoing discussion around how to regulate “automated decision-making” and what principles should guide it. And while not all of these regulatory efforts will directly implicate private companies, they may nonetheless provide insight for companies seeking to build consumer trust in their artificial intelligence systems or better prepare themselves for the overall direction that regulation is taking.
Even a few short years ago, it seemed unlikely that Congress would enact comprehensive privacy legislation. But a series of high profile data breaches; increasing concerns about data practices, particularly when connected to political micro-targeting; fears about the rise of autonomous, and potentially invisible, decision-making; and the passage of far-reaching foreign and now State privacy laws have all changed the zeitgeist. Congress has taken notice, and, for the past year, Data Matters has been closely following the Legislative Branch’s moves as it a federal privacy bill looks more likely than it has in a generation. (more…)
Over the last few years, States have enacted increasingly aggressive legislation concerning data privacy and security, raising concerns that companies will be subject to a patchwork of different standards. Congress has recently taken notice, convening hearings on potential federal privacy legislation, with the possibility of preemption a hot topic during the hearings. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) got into the act as well, releasing two notices of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) on potential changes to its the Standards for Safeguarding Customer Information (“Safeguards Rule”) and Privacy of Consumer Financial Information Rule (“Privacy Rule”) under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The proposed amendments – and particularly the proposed changes to the Safeguard Rule – signal the FTC’s desire to align its rules with those of key states and to further protect customer information held by financial institutions.
When California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) into law on June 28, 2018, there was broad agreement that revisions and clarifications were necessary. The CCPA was written and enacted with extraordinary speed, as legislators felt the need to move quickly in order to preempt a data privacy ballot initiative that had received enough signatures to be placed on California’s November ballot. Consequently, June 28 was, in many ways, the beginning of a debate over the specifics of the CCPA, rather than the end. Indeed, the California legislature has already passed a “clean-up” bill to address concerns expressed about the CCPA, and heated debates over the meaning and merits of specific provisions continue. (more…)
Rapid advances in automation have the potential to disrupt a number of sectors, perhaps none more so than the automobile industry. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has accordingly announced its intention to take “active steps to prepare for the future by engaging with new technologies to ensure safety without hampering innovation.” Most recently, on October 4, 2018, DOT issued Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 (AV 3.0), its third round of guidance on the topic. Like its 2017 predecessor, “Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety,” AV 3.0 emphasizes the development of voluntary, consensus-based technical standards and approaches while noting that there are cross-cutting policy issues where federal leadership may be necessary. AV 3.0 also builds on its predecessors by emphasizing that it reflects the view of all of DOT’s operating administrations; by providing much more detailed guidance on the development and testing of automated vehicle technologies; and by announcing some specific regulatory steps DOT plans to take in the near future. (more…)
A string of Governmental announcements have increasingly sounded the alarm about the growing cybersecurity threat facing the energy sector. Among other things, these reports have announced that state-sponsored cyber actors have successfully gained access to the control rooms of utilities. The hackers, one of the reports notes, could have used such access to cause blackouts.
As one of the epicenters of the Information Age and largest state in the Nation, California’s regulatory decisions can have an outsize impact on the data economy. Recently, the State has tried to use this pride of place to stamp its imprint on two important public debates. First, on September 30, 2018, Governor Brown signed into law the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018 (Senate Bill 822), which seeks to impose, as a matter of state law, net neutrality regulation even more restrictive than the federal regime the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed earlier this year. Second, earlier this year, California enacted (and then subsequently amended) the California Consumer Privacy of 2018, the broadest privacy law in the United States. As laid out below, these enactments have sparked legal and policy debates over whether California should be able to set rules that could become de facto national standards or whether federal rules do or should preempt California’s efforts. (more…)
The Trump Administration continued to put its stamp on federal cybersecurity policy last week, as the White House issued its National Cyber Strategy while the Pentagon announced the Department of Defense Cyber Strategy. The former document is a helpful step forward that continues and advances the cyber policies the Trump Administration inherited from the Obama and Bush Administrations, while the Pentagon’s release primarily focused on the Strategy’s endorsement of “Defense Forward,” which was taken as a signal the United States would be adopting a more aggressive operational posture in the future. Data Matters readers will want to study both strategies, as each contains interesting insights into how the Trump Administration envisions the development of the cybersecurity ecosystem and see the public and private sectors working together to mitigate cyber risks. (more…)