On May 25, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it, along with the Department of Justice, fined Twitter $150 million for violating a 2011 agreement with the FTC in which Twitter promised to protect the integrity of nonpublic consumer information, including users’ phone numbers and email addresses.

Read on for details about the alleged violations

The Utah Consumer Privacy Act (“UCPA”) passed by the Utah legislature was signed into law by Governor Spencer Cox on March 24, 2022 and becomes effective December 31, 2023. While companies conducting business in Utah will need to familiarize themselves with the law in order to become complaint if they are covered by the statute, the good news is that the UCPA creates only marginally different obligations than those found in California, Colorado, and Virginia’s data privacy laws.
Continue Reading New Utah Privacy Law Largely Overlaps with Existing State Statutes

On Feb. 9, U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy and Tammy Baldwin introduced a bill that would create a Commission on Health Data Use and Privacy Protection to study the potential modernization of HIPAA. Introduction of the bill follows a recent trend of increased attention to data privacy at the federal level, both for covered entities and

Investing in artificial intelligence (AI) companies has become a riskier and more involved process than in previous years.  Companies need new processes and tools to follow the more stringent AI regulations that are on the horizon (at least in Europe and the United States).  Regulators are discussing how best to structure AI regulations in order to align risk management with optimizing the potential value creation of these technologies.  Investors should take a similar approach in their investment strategy. Read on for a discussion of the considerations investors should keep in mind as they vet their investment pipeline.

Continue Reading Tech Investing Part III: Investing in AI

On Oct. 6, the Department of Justice announced a new Civil Fraud Cyber Initiative to “combine the department’s expertise in civil fraud enforcement, government procurement and cybersecurity to combat new and emerging cyber threats to the security of sensitive information and critical systems.”

Read on for details and analysis of this new enforcement initiative and

New York City’s recently enacted biometric privacy law took effect July 9, 2021. While the law is vague as to exactly who must abide by certain subsections, it is undoubtedly consumer-focused. However, even if employers escape New York City’s biometric ordinance, a looming New York state law may soon impose more expansive biometric requirements on

Two U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals recently weighed in on what it takes to establish standing to pursue a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claim. The 5th Circuit held that receipt of one unwanted text message is enough to satisfy Article III, which deviates from a prior 11th Circuit decision holding that one text message

On June 14, 2021, the Board of the newly-formed California Privacy Protection Agency (“CPPA”) held its first public meeting.  The Board had an extensive agenda, covering topics such as the laws affecting the Board and CPPA, initial hiring strategy for the CPPA, policies and practices on delegations of authority and conflicts of interest, establishment of subcommittees of the Board, notice to the Attorney General regarding the assumption of rulemaking under the California Privacy Rights Act (the “CPRA”), and setting future agenda items and a meeting schedule for the Board.  (As a refresher, when the CPRA passed as a ballot measure last Fall, it established the CPPA as a first-of-its-kind agency solely devoted to the regulation and enforcement of consumer privacy.  The CPPA is tasked with enforcing the CPRA and developing a set of regulations providing guidance for businesses on how to comply with that new law.  For more on the CPRA, please see our post here.)

While the CPPA Board’s June 14 full-day meeting covered a lot of ground, it is clear there is much work to be done for the CPPA to emerge as an independent, fully-functional agency, let alone promulgating regulations in time to meet the CPRA’s July 1, 2022 deadline for final regulations.  Overall, the Board members appeared to be committed to working through these challenges, but acknowledged that they are under a lot of time pressure.

Continue Reading Starting at the Beginning: California Privacy Protection Agency Board Meets for the First Time

Yesterday, the Supreme Court resolved a circuit split on the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (CFAA) in a decision that emphasizes the importance of how organizations manage access to their systems.  Employees with access to information at work sometimes access that information with improper motives, and in violation of office policies.  This inappropriate use of access has led to federal criminal prosecution for some.  In Van Buren v. United States, No. 19-783, the United States Supreme Court held that the CFAA is not properly applied to justify those prosecutions.

Nathan Van Buren was a police officer who accepted $6,000 from Andrew Albo, a participant in an FBI sting operation, to search a police database to determine whether a woman Albo professed interest in was an undercover police officer.  Van Buren ran a search for the woman’s license plate in the Georgia Crime Information Center database.  For doing so, Van Buren was charged and convicted of violating the CFAA, because he had “exceeded” his authority to access that database.

Continue Reading Federal Law Won’t Protect Your Organization from Bad User Access Control Practices

On January 21, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published proposed modifications to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH), discussed in a previous McGuireWoods’ post. The comment period for these proposals recently ended on May 6, 2021, and HHS received almost 1500 comments from interested stakeholders. If finalized, these proposals will require HIPAA-covered entities and business associates to implement many changes, including updates to their policies, procedures, security standards, notices of privacy practices, authorization and disclosure forms, and business associate agreements. In the age of digital targeting and ransomware, possibly the most important of these is a change to security standards.

Continue Reading As HIPAA, HITECH Undergo Modernization, NIST Seeks Comment on Security Standard Guidance