On May 18, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued its 2023 Policy Statement on Biometric Information and Section 5 of the FTC Act (the “Policy Statement”) describing the agency’s concerns about these fast-proliferating technologies and articulating a set of compliance obligations for businesses that develop or use biometric technologies. To address potential risks of bias, discrimination, and security associated with the collection or use of biometric information, the FTC wants businesses to, among other things, conduct pre-release risk assessments evaluating the potential for bias and other potential consumer harms, assess these risks on an ongoing basis, and evaluate and potentially audit third parties with access to a business’s biometric data.
On July 10, 2023, the European Commission issued its Final Implementing Decision granting the U.S. adequacy (“Adequacy Decision”) with respect to companies that subscribe to the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework (“DPF”).
On 4 April 2023, John Edwards, the UK’s Information Commissioner, stated that the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) would be “going after providers of women’s health apps and auditing them, and getting them to change any practices that are non-compliant.” Speaking at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit in Washington DC, the Information Commissioner indicated that this proposed strategy forms part of the ICO’s new “agile” initiative, which will focus on “areas of vulnerability, targeting…intervention [where] that has the greatest impact”.
Healthcare providers, health plans, and technology companies that use mobile health apps to access, collect, share, use, or maintain information related to an individual’s health should take note of the recently issued Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Mobile Health App Interactive Tool. The purpose of the tool is to help mobile health developers determine the federal regulatory, privacy, and security laws and regulations that may apply to the use of a consumer’s health information, such as information related to diagnosis, treatment, fitness, wellness, or addiction. While the tool should not be considered legal advice and cannot guarantee compliance with legal requirements, it can help healthcare providers, health plans, and technology companies issue-spot to manage risk in this heavily regulated space.
On October 24, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued an order (the “Order”) against the online alcohol marketplace, Drizly, and its CEO, James Cory Rellas, alleging security failures that resulted in a data breach exposing the personal information of approximately 2.5 million consumers. In reaching this conclusion, the FTC alleges that Drizly failed to implement reasonable safeguards to protect the personal information it collected and stored, such as, two-factor authentication for GitHub, access controls for personal data, sufficient written security policies, and appropriate employee training regarding security.
Sidley associate Lauren Kitces was featured on Simplify For Success, a podcast series presented by Meru Data and hosted by Priya Keshav. Lauren discussed FTC’s proposed rulemaking regarding data privacy and data security, and shared her thoughts on how to prepare for the FTC enforcement.
The FTC continues its defense of the wide-reaching Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on “Commercial Surveillance and Data Security” that the Commission, by a 3-2 vote, issued in August. (See the supporting statements of Chair Lina Khan and Commissioners Rebecca Slaughter, and Alvaro Bedoya, and the dissenting statements of Commissioners Christine Wilson and Noah Phillips.)
On Thursday, September 8, the FTC hosted a public forum on the notice, featuring remarks by Chair Khan, Commissioner Bedoya, and panels featuring guests representing industry and consumer interests. (more…)
On Thursday, August 11, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it is exploring rules to crack down on harmful commercial surveillance and lax data security practices. The FTC’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPR”) solicits public comment on whether it should put into effect new rules and restrictions concerning standards and requirements for information security, the ways in which companies collect and process data in commercial contexts, and whether any practices related to the transfer, sharing, selling, or other monetization of personal information should be categorized as unfair or deceptive. The FTC voted 3-2 to publish the notice, with Chair Khan and Commissioners Slaughter and Bedoya voting in favor and issuing separate statements. Commissioners Phillips and Wilson voted against publication and also issued separate dissenting statements. The following Monday, Commissioner Phillips announced he would be leaving the FTC this fall.
*This article first appeared on Law360 on June 16, 2022
Pending lawsuits against Google LLC illustrate how regulators and plaintiffs lawyers are increasingly wielding a dark patterns theory in challenging companies’ practices involving consumers.
The attorneys general of Washington, D.C., Washington state, Texas and Indiana all filed complaints against Google, alleging that the company tricks consumers into providing their location data, on Jan. 24. (more…)
The U.S. President and European Commission President announced in a joint press statement on March 25th, 2022 that an agreement “in principle” has been reached on a new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework (Privacy Shield Agreement 2.0). Once approved and implemented, the agreement would facilitate the transatlantic flow of personal data and provide an alternative data transfer mechanism (in addition to EU Standard Contractual Clauses and Binding Corporate Rules) for companies transferring personal data from the EU to the U.S. This is a welcome announcement for companies that have been dealing with the legal uncertainty of such data flows following the Schrems II decision in July 2020, which invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield 1.0 for international transfers of personal data.