FCC Reevaluating Certain TCPA Compliance Exemptions

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on a proposal to review and potentially revise a number of existing exemptions that the FCC has adopted with respect to certain Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requirements.  The FCC’s review could end up narrowing or eliminating some of these longstanding exemptions, imposing consent requirements or other obligations that today are not required for certain kinds of calls and texts.

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Coordinated OFAC and FinCEN Guidance on Ransomware Attacks Underscores the Regulatory Risk and Complexity of Paying a Ransom

Consistent with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s ongoing focus on cyber-enabled financial crime, on October 1, 2020, two components of the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence issued guidance on ransomware-related payments.  One, an advisory issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), describes the significant U.S. sanctions risks of facilitating ransomware payments, and expresses a strong policy preference against doing so.  The second, an advisory issued by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), alerts financial institutions to trends and indicators of ransomware-related money laundering.  Both underscore the difficult decisions faced by ransomware victims and third parties who assist them as they seek to navigate the loss of access to key data on the one hand, and increasingly significant regulatory risks that making a ransomware payment could entail on the other. Continue Reading

AI, IoT, and CAV Legislative Update: EU Spotlight (Third Quarter 2020)

In this edition of our regular roundup on legislative initiatives related to artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, the Internet of Things (IoT), and connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), we focus on key developments in the European Union (EU).

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French Supervisory Authority Publishes Final Version of Cookie Guidelines, Says It Will Start Enforcing Them in April 2021

On October 1, 2020, the French Supervisory Authority (“CNIL”) published the final version of its Guidelines on cookies and other tracking technologies (hereafter, “guidelines” – see announcement here, and guidelines here, in French), as well as an adjoining set of best practice recommendations (in French) with examples on how to implement the guidelines.  In this blog post, we summarize the key points mentioned in the CNIL’s guidelines. Continue Reading

H&M Receives Record-Breaking Fine for Employee Surveillance in Violation of the GDPR

On October 1, 2020, the Hamburg Data Protection Authority (“Hamburg DPA”) fined H&M, the Swedish clothing company, over €35 million for illegally surveilling employees at its service center in Nuremberg.  This fine is the largest financial penalty issued by a German DPA to date for a violation of the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), and the second highest in Europe issued by any DPA (although other DPAs have announced their intention to issue other larger fines). 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 EU-U.S. Data Transfers after Schrems II.”  The Schrems II ruling requires companies relying on SCCs “to verify, on a case-by-case basis,” whether the level of protections afforded by the SCCs are respected and observed in the recipient country.  According to the cover letter accompanying the White Paper, it “outlines the robust limits and safeguards in the United States pertaining to government access to data” as part of “an effort to assist organizations in assessing whether their transfers offer appropriate data protection in accordance with the ECJ’s ruling.”

The cover letter emphasizes that while the White Paper is intended to help companies make the case that they can transfer personal data from the EU to the United States in compliance with EU law, it does not “eliminate the urgent need for clarity from European authorities or the onerous compliance burdens generated by the Schrems II decision.”  It concludes by citing the importance of the “$7.1 trillion transatlantic economic relationship” and stating that “the Trump Administration is exploring all options at its disposal and remains committed to working with the European Commission to negotiate a solution that satisfies the ECJ’s requirements while protecting the interests of the United States.” Continue Reading

Five Key Themes from the FTC’s Data Portability Workshop

On September 22, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) hosted “Data to Go,” a virtual workshop on data portability. The workshop convened experts from civil society, academia, and industry to discuss the potential risks as well as consumer and competition benefits of data portability, as well as issues and best practices related to its implementation in legislative and industry-led initiatives. The discussions emphasized five key themes regarding data portability efforts in the U.S. and globally. Continue Reading

EDPB Publishes Draft Guidelines on the Targeting of Social Media Users

On 7 September 2020, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) adopted draft guidelines on the targeting of social media users (the “Guidelines”).  The Guidelines aim to clarify the roles and responsibilities of social media providers and “targeters” with regard to the processing of personal data for the purposes of targeting social media users.

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UK Information Commissioner’s Office Publishes Draft Accountability Framework Tool

On 10 September 2020, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) published its beta-phase “Accountability Framework” (“Framework”).  The Framework is designed to assist organisations, of any size and across all sectors, in complying with the accountability principle under the GDPR and in meeting the expectations of the ICO.

The Framework will help those within organisations who are responsible for implementing data protection compliance strategies.  The ICO envisages that organisations will use the Framework in conjunction with other relevant guidance and materials available from the ICO.  The ICO emphasises that each organisation must be mindful of its own circumstances when managing data protection risks, and that a “one size fits all” approach should not be adopted. 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 protections of Section 230 and which are identical to the currently-pending Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act.  Senator Graham also sponsored that bill along with Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

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