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United States Privacy Digest | Notes from the IAPP, Nov. 1, 2019 Related reading: Privacy Tech: TrustArc acquires Nymity

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Greetings from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

As we move into November, developments in privacy show no signs of slowing down.

Location privacy emerged as a trending news theme this week, with a federal court in Maryland ruling that a dispute over the use of consumer location data by telecommunications companies AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon would go to arbitration. Customers of these firms had brought complaints against them for their sharing of geolocation data with third parties, allegedly in violation of the Federal Communications Act. Meanwhile, another legal complaint made by a group of consumers who are being represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation is still pending in federal court in California.

If you were following location data privacy news closely this week, you also might have seen The Washington Post’s coverage of a piece of software being used in some schools to track students’ trips to the bathroom, the nurse’s or the principal’s office. A student who attends a school in Virginia that uses the software, called e-Hallpass, started a Change.org petition to get rid of the technology.

Taking a quick detour into the realm of children’s privacy, another major story this week was that YouTube, Hasbro, the Cartoon Network, Mattel and Dreamworks will be the defendants in a new class-action lawsuit that alleges these companies engaged in “illegal collection of children’s personal information” to track, profile and target them with ads. The specific suit alleges “intrusion upon seclusion,” although a similar case against Google was dismissed earlier this year by a federal court that argued online tracking does not constitute intrusion.

In other location-data-related news, Uber announced it would be filing a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles over the requirement, instituted last year, for scooter companies to provide the Department of Transportation location data on their vehicles. While the city has said that the data will be used for city planning and to “understand technology’s impact on transit,” Uber argues that the requirement for it to share real-time location data on its scooters “compromises our customers’ expectation of data privacy and security.”

Speaking of privacy issues in California, if you have not already, head over to the IAPP Store to download a copy of “5 Steps You Must Take to Prepare for the CCPA,” written by IAPP Research Director Caitlin Fennessy to add to your weekend reading list.

Lastly, efforts around passage of a comprehensive federal privacy law continue to move forward. This month, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is set to consider a handful of bills at a hearing, while members are also planning to release new proposals in the days and weeks ahead.

There is speculation that a bipartisan proposal will be put forth by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

It seems like the discussions about and new proposals for a potential federal law will continue at least through the end of the year. With all these developments happening in the world of privacy, which is constantly in motion, I hope you can find time for a break and have a relaxing weekend.

Happy November!

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