This week, House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) unveiled their bipartisan, bicameral discussion draft of the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA draft).[1] Chair Rodgers’ and Chair Cantwell’s announcement of the APRA draft surprised many congressional observers after comprehensive privacy legislation stalled in 2022.

Continue Reading April’s APRA: Could Draft Privacy Legislation Blossom into Law in 2024?

The staff and board of the California Privacy Protection Agency (“CPPA”) have been working for nearly two years on a new set of proposed rulemaking under the California Consumer Privacy Act, as amended by the California Privacy Rights Act  (“CCPA”).  A year ago the current CCPA regulations were finalized, but several complex issues where reserved for further consideration and some proposals were pulled back to ease initial implementation.  Their enforcement was initially enjoined and delayed by a trial court, but a California appeals court reversed that order, including any delay on the effectiveness of future regulations.  New draft regulations were proposed by the CPPA staff and considered but not approved by the CPPA board in Q4 of 2023.  In February 2024 further revised draft regulations were released and considered on March 8 by the CCPA board, which voted 5 to 0 to move forward amendments to the existing regulations and, after a spirited debate, 3 (Urban, Le and Worthe for) to 2 (de la Torre and Mactaggert against) to also move forward with new draft regulations on data risk assessments and data driven technologies, with a direction to staff to add to the requirements for filing abridged assessments with the CPPA a discussion on what safeguards were employed to mitigate risks (with an exception for when disclosure would be a security risk).  In each case the staff was authorized to prepare the materials necessary under administrative procedures laws and regulations to publish a notice of prepared rulemaking, the publication which will be subject to a further Board vote after reviewing the rule making package.  The staff was also authorized to make further edits to the draft regulations to clarify text or conform with law.  Although the motions did not set a firm date for staff to complete that work, the discussions contemplate that it would be done by the July 2024 Board meeting at the latest.  That could result in effective regulations in Q3, though given the complexity and lack of Board consensus year-end is optimistic.

Continue Reading In Narrow Vote California Moves Next Generation Privacy Regs Forward

The California Privacy Protection Agency (“CPPA”) has published revised draft regulations detailing what it proposes to be required of businesses under the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) to assess, mitigate and document risk before engaging in specified types processing of California residents’ personal information, and on March 8th is set to vote on advancing them to the public comment stage of rulemaking.

Continue Reading More Detail on U.S. Data Processing Assessment Requirements

Protection for minors online continues to top the list of U.S. regulatory and legislative priorities in 2024. So far in 2024, legislators in California introduced several bills focused on minors; Congress held hearings and advanced federal legislation protecting minors online; and constitutional challenges to 2023 state laws focused on minors’ social networking accounts advanced in the Courts. Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are looking to update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and corresponding Rule, as detailed in another post. However, the proposals explained in this post extend far beyond online privacy concerns, and we believe more focus on minors’ online safety is on the way.

Continue Reading Protecting Kids Online: Changes in California, Connecticut and Congress – Part I

Hundreds of lawyers and several privacy regulators from California, Washington State, Oregon, Colorado, Connecticut, and the Federal Trade Commission gathered in Los Angeles last week for the second annual California Lawyers Association Privacy Summit (“Summit”). Among many engaging sessions on pressing topics, the panels with privacy regulators stood out discussions on enforcement priorities and administrative fines and injunctions, along with punchy and newsworthy statements – including that they are “plotting” and that considering the typical investigation presents “hundreds or thousands of violations,” potential fines are “significant.”

Perhaps even more newsworthy is that due to a California Court of Appeal order laid down as the Summit wound down on Friday, the stay in enforcement of the CCPA regulations was lifted. This happened as many companies were treating March 29, 2024, the end of the stay period, as the effective and enforcement date of regulations promulgated under the CPRA’s amendments by the California Privacy Protection Agency. The appeals order also nullifies the year delay in effectiveness of issued CCPA regulations that the trial court had required, making almost certain that CCPA regulations on risk assessments, cybersecurity assessments, and automated decision-making and profiling will be promulgated and in effect sometime this year, perhaps as early as Q2 or Q3.

Will 2024 be the year of privacy enforcement? In view of signaling from California regulators and those in other jurisdictions, and in view of several upcoming effective dates and regulatory deadlines, ongoing enforcement by regulators in California and beyond, and an impending uptick in privacy enforcement, it just might be. Stay tuned for future posts on these issues. Keep reading for more detailed takeaways regarding the Summit.

Continue Reading Potential CCPA Fines “Significant”, California AG’s Office “Plotting” and Other Takeaways From Privacy Regulators during Privacy Summit in Los Angeles

On Friday, February 9, the Court of Appeal of the State of California sided with the California Privacy Protection Agency (“CPPA” or “Agency”), finding that a California Superior Court judge erred when he issued an order staying the Agency’s enforcement of the regulations promulgated pursuant to the CPRA’s amendments to the CCPA until March 29, 2024. As a result of the Court of Appeal’s order, the previously delayed regulations go into effect as of Friday, February 9, and any future regulations promulgated by the Agency – including the forthcoming regulations on cybersecurity and risk assessments, and automated decision-making technology – will not be subject to a future delay.

The order was announced as the second annual California Lawyers Association Privacy Summit in Los Angeles was wrapping up on Friday afternoon. A number of California regulators were in attendance at the event, including CPPA Executive Director Ashkan Soltani, Deputy Director of Enforcement Michael Macko, and Stacy Schesser, Supervising Deputy Attorney General for the Privacy Unit in the Consumer Protection Section.

Executive Director Soltani provided remarks while Deputy AG Schesser and Deputy Director Macko spoke on a panel together. Among the enforcement priorities announced by the regulators, including a focus beyond front-end, public-facing compliance, perhaps the punchiest statement from the Summit came from Deputy AG Schesser during a Thursday morning session: “We are plotting.”

Stay tuned for more on this from Privacy World in the coming days, and buckle up!

As state legislation increasingly regulates sensitive data, and expands the concepts of what is sensitive, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) is honing-in on sensitive data processing in expanding its unfairness authority in relation to privacy enforcement. The FTC’s recent enforcement activities regarding location aware data is a good example. As we have previously reported here and here, Kochava, an Idaho-based data broker, is currently embroiled in a federal lawsuit with the Commission that has the potential to redefine the legal bounds of sensitive data collection, use and sharing and the data brokering industries on a federal level.

Continue Reading Sensitive Data Processing is in the FTC’s Crosshairs

Hot on the tail of California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s announcement of an investigative sweep targeting streamlining services (see our blog post here), Connecticut’s Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) is making headlines with its recent report covering its preliminary enforcement actions under the Connecticut Data Privacy Act (“CTDPA”). We’ve previously covered Colorado and California enforcement activity here.

Continue Reading Connecticut Attorney General Report: CTDPA Enforcement Insights & Takeaways

Last week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced an investigative sweep of providers of streaming services to determine whether these businesses are complying with California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) opt-out requirements for businesses that sell or share consumer personal information.

“From watching live sporting events to blockbuster movies, families increasingly use streaming platforms for entertainment, and we must make sure that their personal information is protected. Today, we are taking a close look at how these streaming services are complying with requirements that have been in place since 2020,” said Attorney General Bonta.

Continue Reading California Attorney General Announces Industry Investigative Sweep into CCPA Compliance

The first month of 2024 brought two new state privacy laws. On January 18, the New Hampshire legislature passed the 15th US state consumer privacy law (notably, still subject to some procedural requirements and signature by Governor Chris Sununu before it is officially law). The New Hampshire law was passed a few days after New Jersey’s new consumer privacy law (Approved P.L.2023, c.266) was signed into law on January 16. 

Both new state consumer privacy laws follow the now-familiar format, offering consumer privacy rights and requiring role-based data processing agreements, but with a few notable differences. A more detailed comparison follows.

Continue Reading New Jersey and New Hampshire Pass Consumer Privacy Laws – and 11 Other States Are Considering Similar Laws