2021 proved to be a momentous year for privacy and data security law.  The scourge of ransomware continued last year, leading to record-setting ransomware payments, a muscular response from the federal government, a hardening insurance market, and significant corporate anxiety.  Two more U.S. states passed comprehensive data privacy laws in 2021.  The FTC was very active, issuing new guidance for artificial intelligence (AI), publishing revisions to the GLBA Safeguards Rule, and bringing new enforcement actions.  The U.S. Supreme Court issued a number of opinions that had the effect of narrowing the scope of key privacy statutes while biometric litigation in Illinois exploded.  The European Commission promulgated new rules for cross-border transfers, and U.S. state regulatory enforcement activities ramped up.
Continue Reading Predictions for Privacy & Data Security in 2022

California continues to be at the vanguard of privacy protection.  On October 11, 2021 California’s Governor Newsom signed several bills addressing privacy and data security. These new laws go into effect January 1, 2022 and include:

  • AB 335, which adds an exemption to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) consumer personal information sales opt-out

After a pandemic-related hiatus in 2020, a number of U.S. states have proposed new data privacy laws in 2021 – and several are very close to passage.  Virginia’s proposed data privacy law appears to be the closest and is likely to be signed into law by Governor Northam in the near future.  Washington and Florida’s

On November 17, 2020, H.R. 1668, the “Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020”, was unanimously passed by the Senate. The bill is now on its way to President Trump for signature or veto.

The bill would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) and the Office of Management and Budget

On November 4, 2020, California voters approved of the ballot initiative Proposition 24, more commonly known as the California Privacy Rights Act (the “CPRA”).  The CPRA goes into effect on January 1, 2023, and will expand several of the existing protections in the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”).

As background, the original CCPA

Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law two amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that would impact various CCPA exemptions. One amendment, A.B. 1281 would extend two exemptions that were set to expire later this year: the employee exemption and the business (B2B) exemption. Both of these exemptions will now remain

On September 9, 2020, Washington Senator Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, announced via Twitter that the third version of the draft Washington Privacy Act 2021 (“WPA”) was available for public review and comment. The recently released version of the WPA is the latest attempt by the Washington legislature to pass a comprehensive privacy bill. An earlier 2020

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) just issued another Advisory pertaining to two consumer fraud schemes exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This Advisory focuses on “imposter schemes” and “money mule schemes, ”which we discuss below.

This most recent Advisory is the latest in a string of pronouncements relating to the pandemic by FinCEN, which has stated that it regularly will issue such documents. As we have blogged, FinCEN issued an Advisory on May 18 regarding medical scams related to the pandemic, and issued a companion Notice that “provides detailed filing instructions for financial institutions, which will serve as a reference for future COVID-19 advisories.” On April 3, 2020, FinCEN also updated its March 16, 2020 COVID-19 Notice in order to assist “financial institutions in complying with their Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and announc[ing] a direct contact mechanism for urgent COVID-19-related issues.”

The most recent Advisory again provides a list of potential red flags that FinCEN believes that financial institutions should be monitoring for, in order to detect, prevent, and report such suspicious activity. As we previously have commented: although such lists can be helpful to financial institutions, they ultimately may impose de facto heightened due diligence requirements. The risk is that, further in time, after memories of the stressors currently imposed by COVID-19 have faded, some regulators may focus only on perceived historical BSA/AML compliance failures and will invoke these lists not merely as efforts by FinCEN to assist financial institutions in deterring crime, but as instances in which FinCEN was putting financial institutions on notice.

Further, the most recent Advisory suffers from the fact that its list of red flags for imposter schemes is best directed at consumers themselves, rather than at financial institutions offering services to consumers: many of the red flags pertain to anomalies in the communications sent directly by fraudsters to targeted consumer victims – information that financial institutions rarely possess.
Continue Reading FinCEN Issues Advisory on COVID-19 and Imposter and Money Mule Schemes

On April 30th, U.S. Senators from across multiple committees joined together to announce legislation that would protect consumer privacy rights in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation,