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Policy

09 July 2019

Chinese Government’s Latest Effort in Tightening Cross-Border Transfer of Personal Information

The Chinese government is proposing heightened requirements on cross-border transfers of personal information from China, recently publishing draft Measures on Security Assessment of Cross-border Transfer of Personal Information (the “Draft Measures”).  This comes less than a month after the Chinese government issued another draft Measures for Data Security Management which require network operators to conduct a security assessment for any transfer of important data (i.e. any data that may directly affect China’s national security, economic security, social stability, or public health and security if leaked) to overseas.  The Draft Measures now focus on the cross-border transfer of personal information by network operators and are viewed as a continuous effect of the Chinese government to strengthen the data protection in China.

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26 June 2019

Supreme Court Clarifies Broad Interpretation of FOIA Exemption for Confidential Commercial Information

In a very significant FOIA decision for business, Food Mktg. Inst. v. Argus Leader Media, decided on June 24, 2019, the Supreme Court reversed 45 years of understanding that Exemption 4 only protects confidential business information whose disclosure by the government would cause “substantial competitive harm.”

Relying on the plain meaning of words in the statute – rather than what the Court majority characterized as muddled legislative history – the Court found that the D.C. Circuit had engrafted a condition on the Exemption that is not supported by the text.  Rather, so long as the commercial or financial information obtained by the government is “private” or “secret” – the plain and ordinary meaning of “confidential” – it may be withheld from disclosure under FOIA.

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25 June 2019

Upcoming Webinar: Consumer-Permissioned Data Sharing: Risks, Gaps and Solutions

Data aggregators and fintech providers are now offering services that let consumers manage their finances using information from multiple accounts at multiple financial institutions. This kind of consumer data access raises serious questions about the relationship between financial institutions and consumer-designated third parties. This webinar will cover the risks that come with consumer-permissioned information sharing, current gaps and solutions in the existing legal framework to address these risks and issues that can be addressed contractually between various stakeholders.

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29 May 2019

NYC Automated Decision-Making Task Force Forum Provides Insight Into Broader Efforts to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

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.

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22 May 2019

Trump Executive Order May Significantly Disrupt Technology Supply Chains

On May 15, 2019, President Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO) declaring a “national emergency” related to certain threats against information and communications technology and services (ICTS) in the United States and authorizing the Department of Commerce to block transactions that involve ICTS with a “foreign adversary.” The EO provides for the possibility of a licensing regime that could allow transactions that would otherwise be blocked. The EO is available here.

The EO itself does not mention any particular countries or companies that would be subject to its prohibitions. However, the EO is widely reported to be aimed at China. Indeed, tensions between the United States and China have intensified over the past week, after negotiations between the two governments to resolve their trade dispute stalled.

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21 May 2019

Dutch Supervisory Authority Opines on Use of Cookie Walls

Recently, the Dutch Supervisory Authority (the “Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens” or “Dutch SA”) has taken the position that the use of so-called “cookie walls,” whereby website access is made conditional upon the provision of consent to tracking cookies, is not compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

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06 May 2019

Fifth Annual Sidley Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable

We held our 5th Annual Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable on May 1, in Washington, D.C.  The event featured the Chair of the European Data Protection Board Andrea Jelinek and FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips.  Other government speakers represented the White House, UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, and staff members from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.  Other distinguished panelists included Cam Kerry of Brookings and Jane Horvath from Apple.  The speakers addressed privacy and cybersecurity enforcement in the U.S. and EU, Brexit, Online Harms and the prospects for federal privacy legislation.  The insightful program was followed by a competition between the sausage-making (and brewing) achievements of leading privacy jurisdictions such as Brussels, California, Washington, D.C. and China (representing a privacy continuum!). Sidley also commemorated “20 Years of CyberLaw at Sidley” – two decades since the founding of today’s Privacy and Cybersecurity practice. We look forward to continuing to thrive and serve our clients. We hope to see you at next year’s Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable.

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