In 1996, Congress enacted Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to provide Internet service intermediaries with general immunity from liability with respect to third-party content posted on their sites. Congress wanted the commercial Internet to flourish, with great benefits to the U.S. economy, and therefore did not want Internet intermediaries to be burdened with the phenomenally costly task of having to monitor and referee third-party content.
Calls for Section 230 Reform
Of course, as we know, the commercial Internet has flourished since 1996 to the advantage of the U.S. economy, and some of the biggest and most valuable U.S. companies are Internet intermediaries that host third-party content. But there have been some complaints about the immunity provided by virtue of Section 230. For example, there have been complaints that some Internet intermediaries should have been and should be more active in monitoring and removing false information posted on their sites that is designed to influence political elections. In the wake of these complaints, there have been suggestions that Section 230 is ripe for potential amendments.
Frustrated by privacy lapses by US companies, Democrat Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has introduced proposed federal legislation referred to as the Mind Your Own Business Act (the Act). If enacted, this law could put serious teeth into efforts to protect consumer data.
Serious Penalties for Noncompliance
Indeed, the Act could cause certain executives to find themselves in prison for as many as twenty years if their companies are found to have lied to legal authorities about improper use of consumers’ personal information. On top of that, the Act could lead to such companies incurring special tax penalties corresponding to executives’ salaries.
Wherever we go these days, whether at work, at home, in restaurants, outside, or practically anywhere else, people reflexively go to their smartphones constantly.
Why? Because those little handheld devices can accomplish so much. We can send communications across various platforms, conduct business tasks, check on the news, shop, participate in social media, listen to music, watch videos, and the list goes on and on. Continue reading Your Smartphone: Friend or Foe?→
Since the advent of the most rudimentary technology, criminal activity has followed. And in more recent times, the internet certainly has been no stranger to criminal enterprises. Indeed, governmental entities, companies and individuals are falling victim to all sorts of cyber-crimes on a constant basis. A look at just one criminal target drives home the rampant nature of online attacks.
Brace yourself for this – the City of London Corporation suffered almost one million cyber-attacks monthly for the first quarter of 2019, based on information obtained by Centrify as reported by info security-magazine.com. That indisputably is a phenomenal number of attacks on the local authority which oversees capital housing for a good portion of the financial center in London. Continue reading Staying Ahead of Rampant Cyber-Attacks→
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) became law long ago when it comes to internet time, way back in the 1990s. The main thrust of the CDA was an effort by Congress to regulate indecent content posted online. Section 230 was included within the CDA to provide general immunity to Internet service providers with respect to third-party content posted on their sites. While the indecency regulatory aspect of the CDA was struck down by the United States Supreme Court as violating the First Amendment, Section 230 survives to this day and has been the critical legal backbone that has allowed a good part of the Internet to flourish, especially social media. Continue reading What To Do About CDA Section 230 And ISP Immunity?→
While issues relating to Brexit and Boris Johnson becoming the Prime Minister of England have tended to dominate the news across the pond, not to be lost in the shuffle are reports that the European Union is in the process of creating a new law that would add further regulation of online content. The new law, titled the Digital Services Act, seeks to replace an older commerce directive from two decades ago with an updated and legally binding law. The law is reported to address a wide array of digital platforms and supposedly would focus on all aspects of tech.
When the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) was passed last year, it was generally acknowledged that the CCPA would need to be clarified prior to its January 1, 2020, implementation. A variety of CCPA amendments are now one step closer to full passage.
Last month, the California Senate Judiciary Committee passed seven amendment bills to the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”). The bills are now headed to the Committee on Appropriations for a vote. Any bills amended by the Senate will need to return to the Assembly for a vote and a possible reconciliation. Lawmakers have until September 13, 2019 to vote on these CCPA amendments, which are summarized in their current form below:
B. 25 (regarding Employee Exception): Amends the CCPA so that it excludes the collection of personal information (“PI”) from job applicants, employees, business owners, directors, officers, medical staff, or contractors, who would not be considered as “consumers” under the CCPA. Now amended to weaken the employee exception with a sunset exemption on January 1, 2021 and negating the exemption as it pertains to the CCPA’s notice and data breach liability provisions;
B. 846 (regarding Customer Loyalty Programs): Excludes application of certain prohibitions in the CCPA to loyalty or rewards programs. Now amended to prohibit a business from selling consumer PI that was collected as part of a loyalty, reward, discount, premium features, or club card program;
B. 1202 (regarding Data Brokers): Requires data brokers to register with the California Attorney General. Now amended to exclude language that would have provided consumers the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information by data brokers;
B. 1564 (regarding Disclosure Methods): Requires businesses to provide consumers with two methods for the submission of privacy requests, including a toll-free telephone number at a minimum. Excludes smaller online companies from the toll-free number and allows these companies to provide an email address for submitting privacy requests;
B. 1146 (regarding Warranty and Vehicle Repairs): Exempts vehicle information retained or shared for purposes of a warranty or recall-related vehicle repair. Now amended to provide a clearer description of vehicle recalls;
B. 874 (regarding “Publicly Available” Information): Expands definition of “publicly available” to include information that is lawfully made available from federal, state, or local government records. Amends definition of “personal information” to exclude de-identified or aggregate consumer information. (Approved by the Judiciary Committee without amendments);
B. 1355 (regarding Opt-In Clarification): Exempts de-identified or aggregate consumer information from the definition of PI. Also clarifies that consumers over 13 years of age but younger than 16 years of age are required to opt in. Furthermore, parents need to authorize consent only for consumers under 13 years of age. (Approved by the Judiciary Committee without amendments.)
Stay tuned for more updates from Duane Morris LLP regarding the advancement of these CCPA amendments and join us for our CCPA webinar series.
Duane Morris partner Sandra Jeskie was quoted in Legaltech News in an article titled “Amazon Risks Legal Gray Area by Indefinitely Holding Alexa Recordings.” Sandra discussed privacy policies and data retention with the Alexa device.
Please visit Legaltech News to read the full text (subscription required).
Nobody should feel smarter than their lawyer. Whether you’re on death row or in a corporate boardroom, legal counsel should provide you with peace of mind. This becomes impossible with one sniff of incompetence or uselessness.
The need for relevancy will drive blockchain adoption in the legal industry. As customers learn how blockchain (and smart contracts in particular) improve security, they may seek out lawyers who understand it too.
“The biggest trend that will shape blockchain use and adoption in the legal industry is the increased use of artificial intelligence in the legal industry. The rise of AI solutions and products to assist in contract drafting, litigation, and other legal services will require the use of secure tracking and storage systems that can be directly integrated with the AI solutions. Blockchain is well positioned to fulfill that requirement.”
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day took place last week on June 15. This Awareness Day highlights how older populations are vulnerable to various forms of fraud and seeks to promote education and strategies to prevent the elderly from being victims of deception.
At the federal level here in the United States, the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act was enacted in 2017, and the Department of Justice brought forth the Elder Justice Initiative. The purpose of the Initiative is to provide a platform for the DOJ “to combat elder abuse, neglect and financial fraud and scams that target our nation’s seniors,” according to an FBI press release. As a consequence, the FBI “has prioritized [its] efforts to address elder fraud.”
Regional initiatives to protect the elderly have been introduced in the United States as well. For example, the Phoenix Field Office of the FBI is seeking to create greater knowledge about “cyber scams targeting the elderly in Arizona” in recognition of World Elder Abuse Day, as stated in the FBI press release.
Top Crimes Against Seniors
As part of creating greater awareness, the press release points out that residents over the age of 60 make up most of the cybercrime victims in Arizona in 2018 and accounted for the majority of adjusted losses in that year, citing statistics from the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. Continue reading FBI Warns of Cybercrimes Targeting Seniors→