Yesterday, Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced an updated version of the “Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Children and Youth Act” (Kids PRIVCY Act), which would make broad changes the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  Rep. Castor introduced a similar bill in early 2020, but it stalled alongside other proposals to overhaul the federal children’s privacy law last year.
Continue Reading Rep. Castor Reintroduces Bill to Rewrite the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

As the push for Congress to pass comprehensive consumer privacy legislation increases, Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) has re-introduced the Information Transparency & Personal Data Control Act, a compromise proposal that contains provisions sought by both parties.  This bill would create national data privacy standards and increase the enforcement authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general.
Continue Reading Bill Introduced Would Preempt State Laws and Strengthen FTC Enforcement 

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker is working on draft legislation 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.   Some key highlights of the tentatively titled “COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act” include:
Continue Reading Republicans Poised To Introduce COVID-19 Privacy Bill

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 proposals at the federal level, which have the potential to reshape the privacy landscape in the United States and even preempt state laws such as the CCPA.  The question of whether a federal privacy bill can pass in 2020 remains an open one.  But regardless of whether a bill will actually pass, the legislative proposals that are emerging this year likely will shape the contours of federal legislation that could move toward becoming law.

Although the issues of preemption and a private right of action dominated the federal privacy conversation last year, four legislative trends emerged in 2019 that also may become key components of a federal privacy framework:
Continue Reading Four Federal Privacy Trends to Watch in 2020

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 Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) have been particularly involved in working on the bill.

“We welcome input from all interested stakeholders and look forward to working with them going forward,” an Energy and Commerce spokesperson told The Hill.  “This draft seeks to protect consumers while also giving data collectors clear rules of the road.  It reflects many months of hard work and close collaboration between Democratic and Republican Committee staff.”

The draft bill echoes many of the provisions in the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) introduced last month by Democratic senators.  However, unlike COPRA, the bill is silent on two notable issues: whether individuals have a private right of action to assert violations and whether the bill would preempt state laws. 
Continue Reading House Energy and Commerce Committee Circulates Draft Privacy Bill Expanding FTC Authority

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 over digital privacy.

“In the growing online world, consumers deserve two things: privacy rights and a strong law to enforce them,” Senator Cantwell explained. “They should be like your Miranda rights—clear as a bell as to what they are and what constitutes a violation.”

Here are some key elements of the bill:
Continue Reading Democratic Senators Introduce the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act

On October 17, Senator Ron Wyden introduced in the Senate a privacy bill that would expand the FTC’s authority to regulate data collection and use, allow consumers to opt out of data sharing, and create civil and criminal penalties for certain violations of the Act.

The Mind Your Own Business Act of 2019 is the latest iteration of Wyden’s discussion draft that he released last November. (We provided an overview of the draft bill here.) Although the two Wyden measures are largely similar, the new bill provides for additional enforcement mechanisms and levies taxes on companies whose executives violate reporting requirements.


Continue Reading Wyden Introduces Mind Your Own Business Act of 2019

On September 10, 2019, 51 members of the Business Roundtable sent a letter to congressional leaders advocating principles for a national consumer data privacy law. The Business Roundtable’s Framework for Consumer Privacy Legislation offers a guide for potential federal legislation that would harmonize existing privacy regulations and preempt existing state and local data privacy laws. The Framework seeks to balance enhanced consumer protections with innovation and competition.

Continue Reading Business Roundtable Proposes Framework for Consumer Privacy Legislation

You may have heard the phrase “dark patterns” as shorthand for various user interfaces designed to influence users’ decisions. They can range from the perfectly innocent to the unethical, and even illegal. Whatever the form, dark patterns have recently drawn attention from the mainstream press.

Dark patterns are coming out from the shadows. And when that happens, class action lawyers can’t be far behind.


Continue Reading Dark Patterns: What They Are and What You Should Know About Them

At a February 27, 2019 hearing on “Privacy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework in the United States,” Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee offered different perspectives on whether new federal privacy legislation should preempt state privacy laws.

Continue Reading Republicans, Democrats Offer Different Views on Preemption During Senate Privacy Hearing