By

Christopher Fonzone

28 September 2018

Senate Hearing on Federal Privacy Law: Question is Not Whether But What Form

On September 26, the Senate Commerce Committee invited tech and telecom companies to the Hill to discuss safeguards for consumer data privacy. “The question,” noted Chairman John Thune, “is no longer whether we need a federal law to protect consumers’ privacy. The question is what shape that law should take.” The Senators and testifying witnesses expressed strong support for a comprehensive federal privacy law. (more…)

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27 September 2018

Why it’s Unconstitutional for Politicians – Including the President – to Block People on Social Media

*This article first appeared in the Washington Post on September 26, 2018.

In a recent piece for Washington Post Outlook, Chris Fonzone and Josh Geltzer (from the Georgetown Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection) explained why a legal case that began with a dispute between a Loudoun County supervisor and a constituent may help set a new standard for online interaction nationally:

A legal case that began with a dispute between a member of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors and a constituent may help to set the rules for how government officials — up to and including President Trump — interact with the public online. A federal appeals court in Richmond will hear the case this week, and, while the stakes of the conflict may seem small at first — one man was banned for a day from an official’s Facebook page — it has potentially enormous First Amendment implications. (more…)

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25 September 2018

Movement Towards a Comprehensive U.S. Federal Privacy Law: Witnesses Prepare to Testify in Senate Hearing

The last six months have been busy ones for privacy watchers, with the entry into force of the GDPR and the enactment and amendment of the California Consumer Privacy Act.

An increasing number of eyes are now turning to the U.S. Congress to see how it will react to these developments, and Data Matters – and the privacy community generally – will thus be closely watching the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, when it hosts a hearing titled “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy.” (more…)

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05 September 2018

Clean-Up Bill Advances to Amend the New California Consumer Privacy Act

On Friday, August 31, the California legislature unanimously passed a host of “clean-up” amendments to the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), AB 375, as it set about addressing flaws and other concerns in the state’s groundbreaking data privacy law. These amendments are now awaiting Governor Brown’s signature. (more…)

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16 August 2018

Coalition Groups Weigh In on CCPA Clean Up Legislation

On June 29, the day after California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) into law, Data Matters provided a summary of the important new legislation.  In doing so, we noted that the law was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020 and that, if and when it did, it would be the “broadest privacy law in the United States” and “may well have an outsize influence on privacy laws nationwide.”  Because of this, we further predicted that “[t]he coming months will no doubt stimulate considerable legislative and litigation activity to test the acceptability of [the CCPA’s] effects on interstate commerce, free speech, commercial innovation, reasonable regulatory burdens and meaningful privacy protection.” (more…)

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15 August 2018

After LabMD, Questions Remain for the Healthcare Sector

*This article first appeared in the July 2018 issue of Digital Health Legal

Massive data breaches.  Threats to medical devices. The Internet of Persons.  Healthcare entities are all too familiar with the rising cyber threat.  But they are also familiar with the complex array of laws and regulations in the United States that attempt to address the threat and the potentially significant compliance costs and risks caused by that complexity.  The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s recent and long-awaited decision in LabMD v. Federal Trade Commission, which trimmed the sails of one of the primary regulators of the healthcare information security landscape, may thus appear to some, at first blush, to be a necessary corrective. Yet closer inspection shows that the Eleventh Circuit’s decision raises more questions than it answers – and that its true implications will only become clear once we see how federal regulators, the courts, and perhaps Congress respond.

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30 July 2018

South Carolina Becomes the First State to Enact the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Insurance Data Security Model Law

In October 2017, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) adopted an Insurance Data Security Model Law.  According to NAIC’s news release announcing this development, the Model Law was meant to build on the organization’s cybersecurity progress and create a “platform that enhances our mission of protecting consumers.”  (For more information on the development of the Model Law, see our prior coverage.)  (more…)

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29 June 2018

California Enacts Broad Privacy Laws Modeled on GDPR

On June 28, 2018, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (AB 375). According to the bill’s author, it was consciously designed to emulate the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that went into effect on May 25, and if and when it goes into effect, it would constitute the broadest privacy law in the United States. It is intended to give consumers more transparency regarding and control over their data and establishes highly detailed requirements for what companies that collect personal data about California residents must disclose.    (more…)

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25 June 2018

A Flurry of Recent Cybersecurity Activity from the Trump Administration

Soon after he took office, President Trump issued Executive Order (EO) 13800, Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.  Given that the President spent much of his campaign and early Presidency trying to distance his Administration from that of his predecessor, commentators noted a surprising amount of continuity between Trump’s cybersecurity EO and the Obama Administration’s approach to cybersecurity.  A focus on critical infrastructure and transparency from publicly traded companies that control it; an emphasis on the public and private sectors working together; reliance on standards promulgated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology; a focus on protecting the Federal Government’s networks, including by taking steps toward using shared infrastructure such as the cloud – EO 13800 builds on existing policies and initiatives in each of these areas and others.    (more…)

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12 June 2018

11th Circuit Vacates LabMD Enforcement Order; Casts Doubt on Decades of FTC Cybersecurity Enforcement Practices

In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission has increasingly exercised its enforcement authority to target deceptive and unfair information security practices.  During this time, enforcement actions have targeted companies for failing to honor their promises to implement “reasonable” or “industry standard” security practices, defend against well-known security threats, put in place basic security measures, or take many other basic data security steps.  And despite challengers arguing that the FTC provided insufficient notice before pursuing these actions or that the actions otherwise exceeded the FTC’s Section 5 enforcement authority, the Commission generally has a track record of successfully defending its prerogatives.     (more…)

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