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DOJ Proposes Legislation to Limit Section 230 Immunity

The Department of Justice has released a draft bill to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, joining the chorus of voices seeking to limit the statute’s liability protections (covered here, here, here, and here).  The DOJ’s draft bill incorporates recommendations from its June 2020 report analyzing Section 230, as well as … Continue Reading

U.S. Government Issues White Paper on Privacy Safeguards Following Schrems II

In the wake of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (“ECJ”) Schrems II decision invalidating the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”) but upholding the validity of standard contractual clauses (“SCCs”), the U.S. government has released a White Paper entitled “Information on U.S. Privacy Safeguards Relevant to SCCs and Other EU Legal Bases for … Continue Reading

Online Content Policy Modernization Act Duplicates Existing Senate Republican Proposal to Limit Section 230 Liability Protections

Another week, another proposal concerning Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.  This week, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced the Online Content Policy Modernization Act, which primarily establishes an alternative dispute resolution program for copyright small claims.  Relevant to this blog, however, are the last three pages of the proposal, which limit civil liability … Continue Reading

Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act Yet Another Republican Proposal to Limit Section 230 Liability Protections

Earlier this week, a group of Republican Senators, including Roger Wicker (R-MS), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act.  This proposal seeks to “modify the scope of protection from civil liability for ‘good Samaritan’ blocking and screening of offensive material” under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications … Continue Reading

Bill Restricting Companies’ Use of Biometrics and Expanding California’s Right To Know Nationwide Introduced in Senate

Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Merkley) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) recently introduced the National Biometric Information Privacy Act (NBIPA), which would require private entities to obtain consumers’ and employees’ written consent prior to collecting their biometric information and expand nationwide individuals’ access rights and rights to request additional information from businesses.  The bill also would grant a … 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

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

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

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

New Bill Seeks to Impose Design Restrictions on Kids’ Online Content and Marketing

On March 5, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Kids Internet Design and Safety (KIDS) Act.  The bill, which covers online platforms directed to children and teenagers under 16 years old, aims to curb the time spent by these minors on such platforms and could dramatically affect advertising and influencer content … Continue Reading

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Proposes New Digital Privacy Agency

On February 12, 2020, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced a plan to create a new Data Protection Agency through her proposed legislation, the Data Protection Act of 2020 (S.3300). Under the proposal, the new agency would replace the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the “privacy cop on the beat.”  As such, the FTC’s current authority … Continue Reading

Kids’ Privacy Bill Allowing for Private Suits Introduced in House

On January 30, House Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Children and Youth (“PRIVCY”) Act, a bill that promises to be a significant overhaul of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). Currently, COPPA applies only to personal information collected from children under 13 years old.  The PRIVCY Act … Continue Reading

Four Federal Privacy Trends to Watch in 2020

Heading into the new year, California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) readiness remains top of mind for many businesses, especially as continued developments, such as the California Attorney General’s forthcoming implementing regulations, may implicate compliance efforts.  State legislation will likely move forward in 2020.  At the same time, however, companies should not lose sight of legislative … Continue Reading

House Energy and Commerce Committee Circulates Draft Privacy Bill Expanding FTC Authority

On December 18, 2019, staffers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee circulated a draft of a bipartisan privacy bill.  The draft is currently unnamed and unfinished, but it lays out a comprehensive framework that expands both individuals’ rights to their data and the FTC’s enforcement role over digital privacy.  Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) and … Continue Reading

Democratic Senators Introduce the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act

On November 26, 2019, a group of Democratic senators introduced the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA).  This comprehensive privacy bill—sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Ed Markey (D-MA)—would grant individuals broad control over their data, impose new obligations on data processing, and expand the FTC’s enforcement role … Continue Reading

Privacy Shield Third Annual Review

On October 23, 2019, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its Report on the third annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”) (the Report is accompanied by a Staff Working Document).  The Report “confirms that the U.S. continues to ensure an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred under the Privacy Shield” (see … Continue Reading

Privacy Shield Ombudsperson Confirmed by the Senate

On June 20, 2019, Keith Krach was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the Trump administration’s first permanent Privacy Shield Ombudsperson at the State Department.  The role of the Privacy Shield Ombudsperson is to act as an additional redress avenue for all EU data subjects whose data is transferred from the EU or Switzerland … Continue Reading

AI/IoT Update:  Congress Considers Measures to Support AI and IoT Technologies

As policymakers weigh the implications of artificial intelligence (“AI”) and the Internet of Things (“IoT”), members of Congress have introduced a handful of measures focusing on Government support for and adoption of these emerging technologies. In May, Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Cory Gardner (R-CO), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced the Developing and … Continue Reading

Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity Holds Hearing to Discuss the Responsibilities of the Defense Industrial Base

On March 26, 2019, the Senate Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Cybersecurity held a hearing to receive testimony assessing how the Department of Defense’s (“DOD”) cybersecurity policies and regulations have affected the Defense Industrial Base (“DIB”). To gain a better understanding of the DIB’s cybersecurity concerns, the Subcommittee invited William LaPlante, Senior Vice President and General … Continue Reading

Covington to Host Webinar on Connected and Automated Vehicles

One week from today, Covington will host its first webinar in a series on connected and automated vehicles (“CAVs”). The webinar will take place on February 27 from 12 to 1 p.m. Eastern Time. During the webinar, Covington’s regulatory and legislative experts will cover developments in U.S. law and regulations relating to CAVs. Those topics … Continue Reading

European Data Protection Board Releases Report on the Privacy Shield

On January 24, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) adopted a report (“Report”) regarding the second annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”).  In a press release accompanying the Report, the EDPB welcomed efforts by EU and U.S. authorities to implement the Privacy Shield,  including in particular the recent appointment of a permanent … Continue Reading

Privacy Shield Updates: Second Annual Review and Brexit Guidance

Earlier this week, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its Report on the second annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”) (the Report is accompanied by a Staff Working Document).  The Report concludes that the Privacy Shield “continues to ensure an adequate level of protection” for personal data transferred from the EU to the … Continue Reading
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