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

The Office of the California Attorney General (AG) made its fourth stop on its statewide California Consumer Privacy Act listening tour, holding in Los Angeles a public forum on the CCPA. The forums invite public comment as the AG prepares regulations for implementing and enforcing the law. Although the AG specifically requested comment on the seven areas identified in the law for the AG’s regulation,[1] it was clear that some categories caught the attention of the public more than others. And even though the forum was structured to allow participants to provide ideas and suggestions (the AG did not respond to comments or questions presented), most commentators asked for clarity and specific direction from the AG regulations, to help decipher the reach of CCPA and its compliance obligations.


Continue Reading Attorney General Holds Public Forum on CCPA