Posts in News
Colorado: 40 data breaches since new consumer privacy law …and counting.

Cybersecurity breaches that expose the personal information of consumers have become a common occurrence. And Colorado’s consumer data protection laws are there to provide comfort that should this happen to residents’ own personal data, the affected company must notify them within 30 days.

The state law came into effect in September 2018. But just five months later, in February 2019, 33 organizations had already reported data breaches, with notifications sent to more than 91,000 Colorado residents.

In this post, we take a look at how the Colorado Consumer Data Protection Law is shaping up - and the impact it is having on both consumers and businesses.

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U.S. Justice Department targets perpetrators of “worst data breach in history”

How is it, that some data breaches are swiftly exposed, and perpetrators duly punished, while others can take years of investigations, costing American taxpayers millions of dollars, as stretched legal resources are deployed in bringing cyber-criminals to justice?

In 2015, a highly sophisticated group of hackers committed what was considered one of the worst data breaches in history, involving the theft of personal data belonging to almost 80 million people.

Having identified the alleged suspects, a federal grand jury is now looking to bring the perpetrators to justice, as this intriguing account of international cybercrime unfolds

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Federal privacy law: Hearings continue as CCPA and GDPR discussed

Once again, data privacy was hot on the agenda this week, as the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs met on Tuesday for the first of two privacy-related hearings scheduled this week.

As Congress continues to move at a snail’s pace towards the creation of a federal consumer privacy law, critics complain that, yet again, old ground is being covered, judging by the testimonies offered by some senators.

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Ireland’s GDPR regulator assists Congress with federal privacy law

Last week we posted on how Congress is being advised by various industry experts, as lawmakers’ wrestle with the task of codifying a federal consumer privacy law. However, as we reported, there are concerns that some external “advice” could potentially come from industry-funded lobbyists, whose job is to influence in favor of the big tech players.

Whether you support the introduction of a federal privacy law or prefer to see state-level consumer privacy legislation, you might find it comforting to know that at least one advisor to Capitol Hill has no such ulterior motives for providing assistance.

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New York: Data privacy survey launched

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the launch of a data privacy consumer survey that aims to improving the privacy regulations of the online marketplace.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection launched the survey to give residents of New York an opportunity to voice their opinions and comments on privacy issues.

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FTC holds 2-day hearing on federal consumer legislation

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held its twelfth Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection. The theme of the two-day hearing focused on the FTC’s approach to consumer privacy.

In this post we highlight some of the main points discussed during the hearing, what was agreed and disagreed, and consider whether new privacy laws such as the CCPA and the GDPR have any part to play in the formulation of new federal privacy legislation.

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Marketing sector coalition pushes for new data privacy law

A new coalition group called Privacy for America, has been set up by four U.S. advertising trade groups are calling for strong, nationwide data protection for all American citizens.

The group is lobbying Congress to ensure federal online privacy legislation is not as strict as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which is due to come into effect in January 2020.

The group is seeking to create a new criterion for data privacy and responsible data use. It wants a national law that favors the interests of the consumer and makes peoples' personal information less vulnerable to breach and misuse, as well as clearly defined prohibited data practices.

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CCPA: Businesses want to be compliant. They just need to know how.

The importance of safeguarding consumers’ personal information is universally acknowledged. However, some critics of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) suggest that the Act merely serves to threaten businesses with potentially crippling fines and reputational damage. There are also concerns of a potential negative impact on consumers, who could benefit from tech innovation such as new ways to use data to offer personalized services and product recommendations - not to mention the use of free services in return for the collection and processing of their personal data.

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States impose new cybersecurity regulations on insurance sector

Insurance companies across the U.S. are being pushed into reviewing their data security protocols, following a series of high-profile breaches and cyberattacks in the last few years.

States are enacting cybersecurity legislation specific to the insurance industry, led by South Carolina, Ohio and Michigan, which have already passed data security laws for insurers over the past 12 months.

The governor of Mississippi approved new measures on April 3. Connecticut and New Hampshire also have bills moving forward in their legislatures.

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SMBs fret about the cost of data privacy compliance

Will new U.S. data privacy laws prove to be too costly for small businesses?

Owners of small and medium sized businesses are deeply apprehensive about the true cost of compliance with new data privacy regulations, according to a recent survey.

Concerns range from a lack of budget to implement operational changes, and the impact on business growth, to the inability of start-ups to take off due to regulatory burdens.

If you are one of the 30 million+ businesses with fewer than 500 employees, that make a massive contribution to the U.S. economy, this article is for you.

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New York: Amendment to Disclose Data to Law Enforcement

Facebook, Google and other big tech giants are about to face a 'reckoning,' state attorneys general warn

It would seem that the gloves are off, as some of America's most prolific attorneys general indicate their willingness to take on super-size tech companies, including Google and Facebook, as fears grow concerning mass collection of consumers' personal information.

Law enforcement officials across the U.S. agree that way too much personal data is being harvested and used in ways that increasingly puts peoples' privacy at risk and undermines competition.

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Court reveals Facebook knew of data mining earlier than reported

According to a recent court filing by the Washington DC Attorney General, Facebook already had knowledge of Cambridge Analytica’s “improper data-gathering practices” several months before the Guardian newspaper first reported on them, back in December 2015.

The AG made the allegation while arguing against Facebook’s insistence that a document in the case be kept under seal. The social network argued that the document should be sealed because it contained commercially sensitive information.

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Federal Privacy Law: Congress seeks answers on location tracking consent

At a Committee on the Judiciary hearing on March 12, lawmakers were seeking answers from witnesses on how companies profit from users' personal data. They also want to know whether consumers should be given more choice in the matter, as Congress considers a future federal privacy law.

One of the highlights of the hearing was when Google’s senior privacy counsel, Will DeVries crossed swords with Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo, over whether users are fully aware of the extent of Google’s use of location tracking.

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California: Can Facebook really become a privacy-friendly platform?

Would be naive to believe that Mark Zuckerberg built a social network that somehow morphed into what is basically a surveillance system?

Now, Zuckerberg has plans to reshape the company to provide messaging services that serve as “fortresses of privacy”.

Rather than simply being a network that connects people who want to ‘share’ their lives with the multitude, Facebook is aiming to get smaller groups of users to engage in encrypted conversations that cannot be read by Facebook, nor any other outsider.

But is this merely part of an effort to distract government regulators?

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CFPB director faces scrutiny of privacy practices

Last Tuesday, March 12, the privacy practices of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) came under the spotlight at a U.S. Senate hearing.

Probing questions were being asked about the CFPB’s structure and authority, as regulators and lawmakers focus their attention on consumer privacy and data security, both in the U.S. and further afield.

Suggestions that the Trump-appointed leadership is attempting to undermine the agency’s mission came to a head as Maxine Waters, who chaired a previous hearing, claimed the Trump Administration has “undertaken a sustained effort to destroy the agency”

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Smart Cities in North America: How can Informed Consent work? (Part 2)

Part Two: The emergence of new technologies is promising to help local government better manage urban environments, as well as deliver services in more efficient and effective ways. But what of the cost of making these communities more sustainable, comfortable, and fair?

Living in a digitally connected “smart city” inevitably involves the collection and processing of large amounts of data - including citizens’ personal information. How will this impact the privacy of its residents?

In this second part, we look at how smart cities affect citizens’ privacy - and what can be done to minimize the risks to personal privacy.

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Smart cities in North America: How will Informed Consent work? (part 1)

The emergence of new technologies is promising to help local government better manage urban environments, as well as deliver services in more efficient and effective ways. But about the cost of making these communities more sustainable, comfortable, and fair? 

Living in a digitally connected “Smart city” inevitably involves the collection and processing of large amounts of data - including citizens’ personal information.

So, what exactly is a Smart City? And how can it impact the privacy of its residents?

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House Hearing dismisses GDPR and CCPA as models for Federal Data Privacy

As lawmakers consider the way forward for federal data privacy legislation, the sense of urgency appears to be ramping up, as states like California and Colorado prepare to launch home-grown consumer privacy laws in 2020.

Moreover, the rise in data breaches and privacy violations by big tech companies is refocusing the conversation in government circles, on the need to protect the personal information of U.S. citizens. Rather ironic, when you consider who knows more about individuals than any other organization.

Nonetheless, Congress continues to discuss and debate how to protect the population from corporate misuse of data and increasing privacy violations, with federal laws and enforcement.

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California: New bill places restrictions on social media companies

A new Bill, introduced on 28 January 2019, will impose liability on social media companies to provide the option for users of their platforms to have all their Personally Identifiable Information (“PII”) permanently deleted from the company’s databases. Consumers’ PII must also be excluded from sale, once the user has closed their account.

The Bill supplements the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) but does not change existing obligations under the CCPA. Social Media companies are advised to pay close attention to the Bill as it progresses.

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