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United States Privacy Digest | Notes from the IAPP Editorial Director, March 13, 2020 Related reading: Data transfers, AI addressed in European Commission's EU-US agenda

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Greetings from Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

It’s been a week unlike any other with growing concerns around COVID-19. Last week, we postponed our Data Protection Intensive: UK 2020, and earlier this week we canceled the IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2020. The stock market had its worst single day since the 1987 crash, and pretty much all sporting and entertainment events are either postponed or canceled (I was supposed to see the great Johnathan Richman and Bonnie “Prince” Billy tonight in Portland, alas!), and schools and universities are shutting down or going virtual.

For now, life as we know it will be altered. There’s just no other way of saying it.

Naturally, we had a lot of fantastic content lined up for next month’s Summit, so we are working hard here at the IAPP to increase our virtual offerings. Rest assured, we’re on it, so stay tuned. And we on the editorial and research teams will continue to publish all the relevant content to help you all do your jobs better.

We are also looking into the different ways COVID-19 will affect privacy and data protection. Employers face difficult decisions around employee health and whether to work from home (if at all possible). For example, what about the use of potentially invasive biometrics in the workplace to increase safety? Geolocation tracking is another issue that’s coming up, especially as we increase “contact tracing.” Plus, as more people work from home, data and network security will be an increased risk for organizations. VPN is a word we’re hearing a lot right now. Last week, I explored issues around balancing individual privacy with the public interest, and earlier this week, our new Westin Legal Fellow Cathy Cosgrove wrote about responses to COVID-19 and data protection law in the EU and U.S.

In light of all the issues raised by this pandemic, if there are angles we should be exploring, please reach out. I’m all ears.

Okay, enough about the virus for now. The other big news is that the Washington Privacy Act, like last year, has hit an impasse. The issue? You probably guessed it: private right of action. Be sure to check out Jennifer Bryant’s coverage today of WaPA’s demise here.

Stay safe and healthy out there!  

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