Archives: United States

Subscribe to United States RSS Feed

Supreme Court Invalidates TCPA Government-Debt Exception

Today, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, which addressed the constitutionality of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Although the Court splintered in its reasoning—producing four separate opinions—the justices nevertheless coalesced around two core conclusions: (1) the TCPA’s exception for government debt collection calls is unconstitutional, and (2) the … Continue Reading

Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act Introduced

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) have introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, a bill that would require tech companies to assist law enforcement in executing search warrants that seek encrypted data.  The bill would apply to law enforcement efforts to obtain data at rest as well as … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Two TCPA Declaratory Rulings, One Clarifying Autodialer Definition

Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau released a Declaratory Ruling clarifying the agency’s interpretation of the “Automatic Telephone Dialing System” (an “autodialer” or “ATDS”) definition in the Telephone Consumer Protection (TCPA).  The Ruling clarified that, in the context of a call or text message platform, the definition does … Continue Reading

PACT Act Would Deny Section 230 Immunity in Certain Instances and Impose Greater Transparency, Process, and Enforcement Mandates

Continuing the flood of recent proposals to amend the scope of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a bipartisan group of Senators unveiled the Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency Act (“PACT Act”) last week.  Proposed by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and John Thune (R-SD), the PACT Act comes on the heels of legislative … Continue Reading

United States v. Moore-Bush: No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Around the Home

On June 16, 2020, the First Circuit released its opinion in United States v. Moore-Bush.  The issue presented was whether the Government’s warrantless use of a pole camera to continuously record for eight months the front of Defendants’ home, as well as their and their visitors’ comings and goings, infringed on the Defendants’ reasonable expectation … Continue Reading

FTC and NAD Actions Highlight Continued Scrutiny of Online Reviews

As consumers rely more and more on the “independent” reviews of their peers in choosing products and services, advertisers need to remain vigilant that their role (if any) in disseminating such reviews is fairly disclosed, accurate and not misleading.  The pitfalls in this area were recently illustrated by a pair of enforcement actions brought by … Continue Reading

Twin Proposals Would Reform Section 230’s Liability Protections and Broadly Affect Online Content

On Wednesday, two proposals were unveiled that would reform the scope of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.  Section 230 immunizes online platforms from civil liability based on third-party content, and provides immunity for acting in “good faith” to restrict or remove content that is “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, … Continue Reading

Bipartisan Bill Introduced in Senate Would Regulate COVID-19 Apps

Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced bipartisan legislation this week to address privacy issues in the COVID-19 era.  The proposal, entitled the “Exposure Notification Privacy Act,” would regulate “automated exposure notification services” developed to respond to COVID-19.  This bipartisan legislation comes on the heels of dueling privacy proposals from both political parties.  … Continue Reading

IoT Update: COVID-19 Drives Forward Connected and Automated Vehicle Legislative and Regulatory Efforts

In a new post on the Covington Inside Tech Media Blog, our colleagues discuss how the pandemic is driving connected and automated vehicle (CAV) initiatives at the federal and state levels.  At the federal level, NHTSA and Congress have recently expressed support for utilizing CAV technology to address pandemic-related challenges.  In California, a privacy bill … Continue Reading

AB 2811: The Future of Automatic Renewals in California

On May 5th, 2020, the California Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection held a hearing and considered AB 2811, a bill that would amend existing California law governing automatic renewals.  As currently drafted, AB 2811 would: require businesses to provide 3-7 days’ notice explaining how to cancel an automatic renewal offer or continuous service … Continue Reading

Democrats Introduce COVID-19 Privacy Bill That Differs in Key Respects From Republicans’ Proposal

House and Senate Democrats recently unveiled proposed legislation—tentatively titled the “Public Health Emergency Privacy Act”—that would regulate the collection and use of health and location information in connection with efforts to track and limit the spread of COVID-19. Below we describe the proposed Public Health Emergency Privacy Act and how it differs with a separate … Continue Reading

FTC to Consider Changes to the Health Breach Notification Rule

On May 8, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a notice soliciting public comment regarding whether changes should be made to its Health Breach Notification Rule (the “Rule”).  The request for comment is part of a periodic review process “to ensure that [FTC rules] are keeping pace with changes in the economy, technology, and … Continue Reading

CCPA 2.0 And Where We Go From Here

 On May 4th, 2020, Californians for Consumer Privacy confirmed that they had submitted hundreds of thousands more signatures than required to qualify for a ballot initiative. It is still yet unknown whether the Attorney General will qualify the ballot for the November 2020 election, let alone whether it would pass. If the initiative passes, it … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Rules on Article III Standing Issues in Illinois BIPA Lawsuit, Allowing Case to Proceed in Federal Court

On May 5, 2020, the Seventh Circuit held that violations of the section 15(b) disclosure and informed consent provisions of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/1 et seq. (“BIPA”) constitute “an invasion of personal rights that is both concrete and particularized” for the purposes of establishing Article III standing to sue in … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Hears Argument Regarding Constitutionality of TCPA

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument (by telephone) in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants, a case that centers on the constitutionality of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and, more specifically, the prohibition on transmitting automated calls or texts to mobile telephone numbers without prior express consent.  Given the litigious environment surrounding … Continue Reading

FCC Continues TRACED Act Implementation, Proposes to Expand Scope of Permissible Call Blocking

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took additional steps to implement the various mandates in the TRACED Act (discussed here and here), which was enacted late last year to help combat illegal robocalls.  Specifically, the FCC yesterday released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks comment on how best to eliminate “one-ring scams.”  Included … Continue Reading

IoT Update: FTC Settles with Smart Lock Manufacturer and Provides Guidance for IoT Companies

On April 6, 2020, Tapplock, Inc., a Canadian maker of internet-connected smart locks, entered into a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to resolve allegations that the company deceived consumers by falsely claiming that it had implemented reasonable steps to secure user data and that its locks were “unbreakable.”  The FTC alleged that these … Continue Reading

The FTC’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic: Consumer Protection Priorities and Initial Actions

The Federal Trade Commission has traditionally responded forcefully to public health and economic crises, and it is doing so again in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  The current crisis does present some additional complications, however, because of its impact on the operations of the agency itself.  Three particular aspects of the FTC’s consumer protection-related response … Continue Reading

HHS Seeks to Facilitate Certain Uses and Disclosures of Health Data to Public Health and Health Oversight Agencies Amidst COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

On April 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued a Notification of Enforcement Discretion (the “Notification”) regarding the disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) to public health authorities and use of PHI to perform analytics for such authorities.  Designed to “facilitate uses and disclosures for public health and health oversight … Continue Reading

Washington Enacts New Facial Recognition Law

On March 31st, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law SB 6280, a bill aimed at regulating state and local government agencies’ use of facial recognition services.  An overview of the law’s provisions can be found here. Notably, Governor Inslee vetoed Section 10 of the bill, which aimed to establish a legislative task force that … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Cybersecurity Advice: FTC and FBI Provide Guidance on Cybersecurity Scam Trends and Preventive Measures

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, several U.S. government entities have released warnings about a rise in scams and fraudulent activity connected to the outbreak.  In a recent bulletin, the FBI warned of a rise in phishing emails, counterfeit treatments or equipment for COVID-19 preparedness, and fake emails from the Centers for Disease Control and … Continue Reading

HHS Relaxes Enforcement of Certain HIPAA Provisions Amidst COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

This month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued guidance waiving enforcement of certain provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) in response to the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.… Continue Reading

Washington State Passes Bill Limiting Government Use of Facial Recognition

On March 12, 2020, Washington’s state legislature passed SB 6280, a bill that will regulate state and local government agencies’ use of facial recognition services (“FRS’s”).  The bill aims to create a legal framework by which agencies may use FRS’s to the benefit of society (for example, by assisting agencies in locating missing or deceased … Continue Reading
LexBlog