Last week, Virginia’s Joint Commission on Technology and Science held its second meeting of the Consumer Data Protection Work Group.

Instead of following a detailed rulemaking process for implementation like that provided for in the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) is being reviewed over the next few months by a group of state officials, business representatives, and advocates. This group will publish recommendations by November 1, 2021, which the state legislature can consider if it amends the law before the VCDPA goes into effect on January 1, 2023. A stated goal of the group is to align the VCDPA with other privacy laws that states are enacting around the country.

At the meeting, the group heard public comments as well as a presentation by Deputy Attorney General Samuel Towell on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia (OAG). The presentation covered issues that the OAG sees with the VCDPA’s implementation and proposed a number of recommendations for the group to consider:
Continue Reading Virginia Consumer Data Protection Work Group Holds Second Meeting, Hears Recommendations from the Office of the Virginia Attorney General

Earlier this month the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) held its inaugural public meeting.  The CPPA was created under Proposition 24, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which was approved by California voters on November 3, 2020.
Continue Reading California Privacy Protection Agency Holds First Meeting, Preparing for Upcoming Rulemaking

Colorado is poised to join the growing number of states enacting a comprehensive privacy law.  On Monday, June 7, both houses of the legislature passed the Colorado Privacy Act.  The bill will now be sent to the Governor for approval. 
Continue Reading Colorado Legislature Passes Comprehensive Consumer Privacy Bill

Yesterday the Supreme Court issued a decision in Van Buren v. United States, No. 19-783, ruling that a police officer did not violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) when he obtained information from a law enforcement database that he was permitted to access, but did so for an improper purpose.  In so ruling, the Court adopted a relatively narrow reading of the CFAA, and partially resolved a years-long debate concerning the scope of liability under the CFAA.

The CFAA prohibits, inter alia, “intentionally access[ing] a computer without authorization or exceed[ing] authorized access, and thereby obtain[ing] information from any protected computer.”  18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2).  What it means to “exceed authorized access” has been the subject of disagreement among lower courts:  Some have concluded that this term refers to accessing areas of a computer that the user is not permitted to access under any circumstances—e.g., a student accessing her university’s database of grades that is restricted to only administrator use.  Others have concluded that this term also encompasses individuals who are permitted to access an area of a computer for certain purposes, but they do so for an improper purpose—e.g., an administrator accessing the university’s database of grades that she is generally permitted to use, but she does so for the improper purpose of blackmailing a student.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Adopts Narrow Reading of the CFAA in Van Buren v. United States

To add to the growing list of federal privacy frameworks introduced this year, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has re-introduced the bipartisan Social Media Privacy Protection and Consumer Rights Act of 2021 (S. 1667).  Senator Klobuchar introduced the bill originally in 2018 and 2019, although it did not advance to committee in either instance.  Senators Kennedy (R-LA), Burr (R-NC), and Manchin (D-WV) have co-sponsored the bill.

Key provisions in this bill include:
Continue Reading New Privacy Bill Provides Opt-Out Rights and New Data Security Requirements

This week, Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act, which would update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  COPPA is the comprehensive federal children’s privacy law enacted in 1998 that regulates the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information online from children under 13.
Continue Reading Senators Markey and Cassidy Introduce Bill to Update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

Last week, the Ninth Circuit ruled in Lemmon v. Snap, Inc., No. 20-55295 (May 4 2021), that 47 U.S.C. § 230 (“Section 230”) did not bar a claim of negligent product design against Snap, Inc., reversing and remanding a lower court ruling.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Denies Section 230 Defense in Products Liability Case

Florida may be next state to join the growing number of states with a consumer privacy law, as both chambers of Florida’s legislature are currently considering comprehensive state privacy legislation.  Both HB 969 and SB 1734 resemble the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), though they contain some notable differences.  Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expressed support of these measures, stating that these proposals “finally check these companies’ unfettered ability to profit off our data and ensure the protection of Floridians’ personal and private information.”

Continue Reading Florida Legislature Considering Comprehensive Privacy Law

Today, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Facebook v. Duguid, adopting a narrow interpretation of a key definitional term in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and resolving the circuit split we previously described here and here.

In effect, the Supreme Court’s opinion means that to qualify as an “automatic telephone dialing system” (ATDS) under the TCPA, a device must use a random or sequential number generator; a device that calls a prescribed set of telephone numbers without using such a number generator would stand outside that definition and thus not be regulated by the TCPA.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Narrows Meaning of TCPA Autodialer Definition