Greetings from York, Maine!
What a week it has been in the U.S. As I write this, the nation still waits for the final votes to be counted in the presidential election, and there are at least three Senate seats up for grabs (more on that later). The wait seems interminable, but for those of us who remember the 2000 Gore v. Bush presidential election, this wait seems like a drop in the bucket. Of course, 20 years ago, we didn’t have to deal with an election during a pandemic and a ramped-up 24-hour news cycle.
In the meantime, there were a number of initiatives on ballots across the country designed to strengthen existing privacy laws, and, in most cases, the results were determined in a timely manner. Without a doubt, the most significant privacy initiative was the passage of California’s Proposition 24, which paves the way for the California Privacy Rights Act. One notable change is the creation of the California Privacy Protection Agency — the first privacy-specific enforcement agency in the U.S. IAPP Editorial Director Jedidiah Bracy reported on the news Wednesday.
In Michigan, voters approved Prop. 2, an amendment to the state Constitution that will require police to obtain a warrant to access an individual’s electronic data and communications. In Massachusetts, voters approved Ballot Question 1, which gives car owners and independent auto mechanics expanded access to motor vehicle data, data that is usually protected by the car manufacturer or dealership. Ahead of Tuesday's vote, IAPP Associate Editor Ryan Chiavetta explored the initiative here.
Circling back to the election, with three Senate seats up for grabs — one in Alaska and two run-off Senate races in Georgia — what does the future of federal privacy legislation look like? There are a number of privacy bills in the Senate now that have yet to go to the floor for a vote. Will a change in the Senate makeup and a new administration with a vice-president-elect who has a background as California's attorney general move the needle a little bit closer to an approved federal privacy law in 2021? Conversely, will an incumbent president and altered Senate change the calculus at all? These are questions we won’t be able to answer until at least Jan. 5, 2021.
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