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United States Privacy Digest | Notes from the IAPP Publications Editor, June 8, 2018 Related reading: A view from DC: The gossip test for sensitive data




Greetings from Portsmouth, NH!

Though the big May 25 deadline is finally in the rearview mirror, other significant developments are taking place in the privacy world. Of course, Brexit and the ePrivacy Regulation are top of mind on the other side of the Atlantic, but in the U.S., there’s been a flurry of state activity of late. Colorado just updated its data protection law and Vermont passed a bill regulating data brokers. With each new law, America’s unique regulatory patchwork quilt continues to grow more complex.

But there’s something else on the horizon that could potentially have a dramatic effect here in the U.S.

You may have heard about the ballot initiative in California, but in case you haven’t – it’s been under the radar, it appears – this potential law could be a game changer. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 garnered more than 600,000 signatures and, if certified by the state, will be voted on this November. Early reports suggest there’s a good chance this law will pass. If it does, California will once again nudge forward the vanguard of privacy regulation in the U.S.

Led in part by Alastair Mactaggart, a real estate developer featured in a video interview below, the initiative would provide residents with several new rights, including the right to receive data a company has collected about them; the right to demand companies not share or sell data about them; and the right to sue companies that violate those rights.

Though it’s far from a done deal, this is a space worth watching. Unsurprisingly, several tech companies and the state’s Chamber of Commerce have come out against the initiative, but some, including Facebook, have recently rescinded their opposition. It will be interesting to see how companies integrate their messaging around GDPR, global privacy, and this coming campaign in California.

It’s also worth pointing out that this week marked the five-year anniversary of the initial Snowden disclosures. I personally can’t believe it’s already been half a decade since those shocking and enthralling leaks took place. It was a lightning-rod issue then, and I suspect it still is today.

In an interview this week with the Guardian, Snowden says he has no regrets about his actions in 2013. There’s no doubt the leaks had an effect. They eventually lead to the downfall of the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor framework, for one, along with prompting tech companies to issue regular transparency reports to the public and bolstering the widespread adoption of encryption.

Where will we be five years from now? If these burgeoning laws are any indication, it’s safe to say, once again, a much different place.


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