Last week, the LA City Attorney announced that it has agreed to settle its lawsuit against The Weather Channel over alleged improper location data practices. The settlement serves as reminder about the increasing scrutiny over location data, and the need to revisit policies and practices in preparation for the launch of iOS 14.

Continue Reading Takeaways from The Weather Channel Settlement over Location Data Practices

The Office of Administrative Law’s (OAL) approval of the California Attorney General’s proposed regulations to the CCPA on August 14, 2020 was just the news we needed in 2020. Even better, because the OAL graciously approved the finalized regulations on a Friday afternoon, the weekend was spent thinking about best legal practices moving forward. One thing for sure, the finalized regulations are effective immediately.

In case you forgot how we got here, let’s rewind and tell the story of how the finalized regulations came to be. A long time ago, back in October of 2019, Continue Reading Finally, the CCPA Regulations Are Finalized…For Now

Privacy and data security continue to make headlines and this time the waves are coming from the European Court of Justice (i.e., the highest court of the European Union). Without comprehensive U.S. federal privacy legislation, it is of little to no surprise (albeit disappointing) that the European Court of Justice (the “Court”) invalidated the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework because it failed to impose appropriate safeguards with respect to the transfer of personal data located in Europe to the United States.

 

What is Privacy Shield and What Happened to Change it?

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (“Privacy Shield”), as stated on the official government website, “was designed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission…to provide companies on both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the European Union…to the United States in support of transatlantic commerce.”

Continue Reading European Court of Justice Invalidates EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and Upholds Standard Contractual Clauses

Last month, the Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA), in collaboration with the International Advertising Association (IAA), released the first-ever book on how privacy laws affect marketing and advertising around the world. The book, entitled “Privacy Law: A Global Legal Perspective on Data Protection Relating to Advertising & Marketing,” is over 700 pages and covers privacy laws in more than 70 countries – from Argentina to Zimbabwe.

Continue Reading GALA and IAA Release First-Ever Global Guide to Privacy Laws Related to Advertising & Marketing

On June 1, 2020, the Office of the California Attorney General (AG) announced it submitted a final CCPA proposed regulations package to the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL). The final proposed regulations package includes no new changes to the second round of modified regulations published on March 11, 2020.

This final proposed regulations package also includes a request for expedited review. Generally, OAL has 30 working days to review and approve proposed regulations. But a California executive order issued in response to Covid-19 now permits OAL to take an additional 60 calendar days if necessary. Continue Reading On Day of Unprecedented Civil Disturbances During a Pandemic, California AG Submits Finalized CCPA Regulations Package Unmodified Over Last Two Months.

Previously, my colleague Tanya Forsheit wrote a cautionary tale, “A Big Zooming Mess,” about the Zoom video conferencing service whose rise in popularity also brought increased scrutiny of its privacy and data security practices. That scrutiny came not just from media outlets and consumers, but also from government agencies such as the New York Attorney General and New York City Department of Education. The entire FKKS Privacy and Data Security team even had a round-table discussion (over WebEx) to unpack all the issues (recording available here). Now, both the New York Attorney General and the New York City Department of Education announced that they reached coordinated but independent agreements with Zoom to address various privacy and security issues, and paving the way for NYC DOE educators to resume using Zoom for virtual classroom instruction. This post looks at the terms of the NY AG agreement and discusses some of its key takeaways.

Continue Reading Zoom Reaches Agreement with New York Attorney General to Resolve Privacy and Security Issues

On April 29, 2020, Google and Apple released the first version of their COVID-19 contact tracing tools to public health organizations. The tools, first announced by the companies on April 10th, aim to help public health agencies build apps to track and contain the virus. This article discusses how the contact tracing tools work, the planned two-phase implementation for the tools, and some of the privacy questions around the tools.

How Do the Tools Work?

“Contact-tracing” is not a new concept. The concept is that a society can limit the spread of a virus by tracing whom a person who has tested positive with a virus has recently come in contact with, and notifying those individuals to further prevent the spread of the virus. For example, if John tests positive for the virus and visits a grocery store, part of the contact tracing process would be to find and notify those individuals who came close to him in the grocery store. As you can imagine, contact tracing has historically been a laborious and inaccurate process that requires a manual review of an infected person’s interactions.

Google and Apple’s partnership aims to dramatically improve the contact tracing process by using Bluetooth technology within an infected person’s cell phone to determine whom the person has interacted with and notifying those other people. The partnership is particularly notable because it involves the creation of shared standards between two tech giants that rarely allow for any interoperability. Below is an example of how the tools work: Continue Reading Google and Apple Release First Version of Contact Tracing Tools

Over the last few months, we’ve witnessed some major developments around SDKs and privacy. In February, the SDK defendants named in the consolidated McDonald/Rushing putative COPPA class action settled with plaintiffs. In late March, Zoom experienced a PR nightmare due, in part, to its inclusion of the Facebook SDK in its platform (discussed further in our Zoom blog). In mid-April, the Ninth Circuit reinstated a lawsuit against Facebook for alleged privacy violations in connection with its use of tracking technologies on third party websites. And this past Wednesday, the US District Court for New Mexico granted a motion to dismiss, the privacy claims against ad networks providing SDKs in child-directed apps.

In this blog, we’ll break down the New Mexico District Court order, and provide some observations from the decision. We are also using this blog as a springboard for a follow-up webinar that will discuss the state of affairs for SDKs and privacy. More to follow on the webinar soon.

  • Background on the New Mexico District Court Case

Continue Reading SDKs and COPPA: An Overview of the Recent Court Order in the New Mexico Attorney General COPPA Lawsuit

Authored by Shely Berry and Amy Lawrence.

The creativity with which people around the world have responded, and continue to respond, to this pandemic in addressing the needs of others is remarkable. Virtual educational services, or “EdTech”, are one of the most visible needs as schools around the world transition to online learning. Many companies are highlighting the educational aspects of their current products and services or creating entirely new products and services that fall squarely within the EdTech industry. The goal: to assist those who now find themselves trying to figure out how to be safe at home, “teach children,” and focus on the ninety-nine other tasks that have to be completed at the exact same time.

It’s one thing if you made your online guitar lessons free for a general audience (thank you, Fender), but another if you provide products and services for educational purposes. You may find yourself subject to several state and federal privacy laws. At least 40 states have one or more such laws.

This blog post highlights the state laws that regulate the EdTech industry by aligning with California’s 2014 law, known as the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (“SOPIPA”). Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have SOPIPA-type laws aimed at limiting the use of personal information (and similarly defined terms) collected from students through EdTech products or services. Continue Reading When it Comes to Virtual Learning, Privacy Isn’t as Easy as 2 + 2 = 4

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is having some technical issues, to say the least. Small government agencies are notorious for suffering from technological inadequacy and poor information security measures, and the SBA appears to be no exception as it forms a bottleneck between small businesses and federal aid.

As part of its compliance with law, the SBA sent a “Data Breach” notification to as many as 8,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) applicants. The SBA recently expanded the EIDL’s coverage to assist small businesses affected by the fallout of COVID-19. Though the loans were targeted at providing quick relief and funds were supposed to be delivered just a few days after application, many applicants waited weeks and continue to wait. The SBA seemingly did not have the technical processes in place to handle the deluge of applications it received. Unsurprisingly, delays, system crashes, and even a data breach occurred. Specifically, a flaw in the SBA’s loan application portal allowed applicants to see another user’s information if the back button was clicked. The SBA disabled that part of the site and fixed the bug, but not before inadvertent disclosures occurred.

Continue Reading Technical Woes at the SBA Cause Data Breach and Continue to Cause Delays