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United States Privacy Digest | Notes from the IAPP Editorial Director, May 13, 2022 Related reading: A View from DC – Roundup & reflections for May 13, 2022

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Hello, privacy pros!

It was another week in the calendar year, which means tons of privacy news developed since our last issue of the U.S. Privacy Digest. Last week, IAPP Staff Writer Joe Duball shared some of his reporting on the sausage making of Connecticut's privacy law. At the time, the bill had made it through the state legislature and awaited Gov. Ned Lamont's signature. 

Well, we didn't have to wait long. On Monday, Lamont put ink to paper, making his state the fifth in the country to enact a comprehensive privacy law. No doubt, many privacy advocates and academics are not impressed with the slate of state laws to date. In response to one of my tweets announcing the news, law professor Neil Richards joked, "I think we should opt out of these terrible opt out laws that effectively opt out of actually protecting consumer and citizen privacy."

Others, however, applauded Connecticut for going further than some of the other state laws, such as Utah. Consumer Report's Justin Brookman, a longtime advocate for privacy in our space, welcomed Connecticut's law, saying, "Connecticut is helping to lead the way on privacy rights in the United States. This year we saw giant tech companies push weak bills at the state level, so we are especially pleased to see Connecticut sign a strong law that will extend real privacy protections to its citizens.”

For more details on what's in Connecticut's new law, be sure to check our IAPP Westin Fellow T.K. Lively's analysis. A must read, if you ask me. 

At the federal level, the big news this week is the confirmation of Alvaro Bedoya as the fifth and final commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission. After a long slog — I mean long: he was nominated in September and had to be re-nominated again in January — the U.S. Senate confirmed the Democrat 51-50, with the tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris. 

With a fully functioning board of commissioners for the first time in eight months, Bedoya's confirmation likely means the agency will finally ramp up its enforcement efforts. The IAPP heard from several former FTC officials this week after news of the confirmation, and regardless of what side of the political aisle, everyone agrees that we will see a flurry of activity in the coming months. 

And what pray tell may top the list of enforcement efforts from the FTC? There will likely be several, but one key initiative appears to involve children's privacy, which was hinted at by Commissioner Christine Wilson in her congratulatory tweet to Bedoya. IAPP Staff Writer Alex LaCasse's report on the confirmation includes insight from several insiders on the potential agenda, and chief among those is children's privacy. 

This, no doubt, appears in evidence today, with the FTC announcement of its tentative agenda for the May 19 open meeting. What's on top of the agenda? You guessed it: children's privacy. The FTC says it will vote on a policy statement announcing its prioritization of the enforcement of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act as it applies to education technology. 

Finally, it's worth mentioning that the U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board plans to hold a public forum May 26. It is seeking public comments on the privacy and civil liberties issues "concerning the government's efforts to counter domestic terrorism." Among the issues is implications for First Amendment-protected activities and for privacy and Fourth Amendment rights, as well as the use of technology in mitigating domestic terrorism. For those interested in providing the PCLOB with comments, the docket will be open until June 30. 

Enjoy the weekend! 

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