Posts tagged Department of Commerce.
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On March 27, 2024, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) issued its AI Accountability Report, and, on March 28, 2024, the White House announced the Office of Budget and Management’s (“OMB’s”) government-wide policy on AI risk management.

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Hunton Andrews Kurth released a client alert on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) settlement with EFG International AG. On March 14, 2024, OFAC announced a settlement (the “Settlement”) with EFG International AG, a global private banking group based in Switzerland with many global subsidiaries (collectively, the “Manager”) regarding violations of OFAC rules alleged to have occurred as a result of the Manager’s buying, selling and, in many cases, merely holding, U.S. securities on behalf of persons sanctioned by OFAC. 

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On October 30, 2023, U.S. President Biden issued an Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. It marks the Biden Administration’s most comprehensive action on artificial intelligence policy, building upon the Administration’s Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights (issued in October 2022) and its announcement (in July 2023) of securing voluntary commitments from 15 leading AI companies to manage AI risks.

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On July 10, 2023, the European Commission formally adopted a new adequacy decision on the EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework (the “Adequacy Decision”). The adoption of this Adequacy Decision follows years of intense negotiations between the EU and the U.S., after the invalidation of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in the Schrems II case.

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On March 6, 2023 the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (CIPL) at Hunton Andrews Kurth filed a response to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s request for comment on issues at the intersection of privacy, equity and civil rights.  

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On July 28, 2021, President Biden signed a National Security Memorandum entitled “Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems” (the “Memorandum”). The Memorandum formally establishes an Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative and directs the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”), in collaboration with other agencies, to develop and issue cybersecurity performance goals for critical infrastructure. The Memorandum follows recent high-profile attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure, including ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods.

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On December 9, 2020, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing on the Invalidation of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and the Future of Transatlantic Data Flows. The hearing explored the policy issues that led to the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (“CJEU”) invalidation of the Privacy Shield framework in the Schrems II ruling. The hearing also discussed effects of the CJEU’s decision on U.S. businesses and what steps the U.S. government may take to develop a successor data transfer framework, including comprehensive federal privacy legislation.

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On September 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, released a White Paper entitled Information on U.S. Privacy Safeguards Relevant to SCCs and Other EU Legal Bases for EU-U.S. Data Transfers after Schrems II (the “White Paper”). The White Paper outlines privacy safeguards in and updates to the U.S. surveillance provisions flagged by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in its Schrems II decision. It is intended to serve as a resource for companies transferring personal data from the EU to the U.S. in the wake of the CJEU’s decision overturning the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. Particularly, it focuses on companies relying on Standard Contractual Clauses (“SCCs”) for data transfers, and provides information to help them determine whether the U.S. ensures adequate privacy protections for companies’ data.

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On September 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) announced detailed sanctions relating to the mobile applications WeChat and TikTok. These prohibitions were issued in accordance with President Trump’s Executive Orders issued on August 6, 2020, imposing economic sanctions against the platforms under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. § 1701 et seq.) and the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.). These orders, if they become fully effective, will (1) prohibit mobile app stores in the U.S. from permitting downloads or updates to the WeChat and TikTok mobile apps; (2) prohibit U.S. companies from providing Internet backbone services that enable the WeChat and TikTok mobile apps; and (3) prohibit U.S. companies from providing services through the WeChat mobile app for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments to or from parties. The sanctions do not target individual or business use of the applications but are expected to degrade the ability of persons in the United States to use the apps for the purposes they were designed to serve.

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On August 6, 2020, President Trump signed executive orders imposing new economic sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. § 1701 et seq.) and the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.) against TikTok, a video-sharing mobile application, and WeChat, a messaging, social media and mobile payments application. The orders potentially affect tens of millions of U.S. users of these applications and billions of users worldwide.

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On August 10, 2020, European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross released a joint press statement (the “Statement”) following the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in the Schrems II case.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce has issued two new sets of FAQs in light of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (“CJEU’s”) recent decision to invalidate the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield in Schrems II. We previously reported on the Schrems II ruling and its implication for businesses that transfer personal data to the U.S. The new FAQs from the Department of Commerce address the impact of the decision on the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield framework.

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The International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that NCC Group has been approved as a U.S. Accountability Agent under the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (“CBPR”) system. NCC Group joins TrustArc and Schellman as the third U.S. Accountability Agent under the CBPR and the sixth Accountability Agent approved under the system overall. NCC Group will now be able to independently assess and certify the compliance of U.S. companies under the APEC CBPR system and under the APEC Privacy Recognition for Processors (“PRP”), a corollary system to the CBPR specifically for processors.
On March 19, 2020, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (“CIPL”) at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP published a Q&A on the APEC CBPR and PRP systems. The Q&A is designed to explain the workings of both systems, who is currently participating in them and how interested companies can certify.

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During the week of April 1, 2019, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (“CIPL”) at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP hosted its annual executive retreat in Washington, D.C. (the “Retreat”). During the Retreat, CIPL held a full-day working session on evolving technologies and a new U.S. privacy framework followed by a closed members only half-day roundtable on global privacy trends with special guest Helen Dixon, Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland.

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On January 22, 2019, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) issued a report on the Second Annual Review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (the “Report”). Although not binding on EU or U.S. authorities, the Report provides guidance to regulators in both jurisdictions regarding implementation of the Privacy Shield and highlights the EDPB’s ongoing concerns with regard to the Privacy Shield. We previously blogged about the European Commission’s report on the second annual review of the Privacy Shield, and the joint statement of the European Commission and Department of Commerce regarding the second annual review.

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On December 20, 2018, the Department of Commerce updated its frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) on the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks (collectively, the “Privacy Shield”) to clarify the effect of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU on March 29, 2019. The FAQs provide information on the steps Privacy Shield participants must take to receive personal data from the UK in reliance on the Privacy Shield after Brexit.

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On December 19, 2018, the European Commission (the “Commission”) issued a press release regarding the publication of the Commission’s second annual review of the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (the “Report”).

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The Centre for Information Policy Leadership (“CIPL”) at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP recently submitted formal comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) in response to its request for public comments on developing the administration’s approach to consumer privacy.

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On October 19, 2018, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross issued a joint statement regarding the second annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework, taking place in Brussels beginning October 18. The statement highlights the following:
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The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology recently announced that it is seeking public comment on Draft NISTIR 8228, Considerations for Managing Internet of Things (“IoT”) Cybersecurity and Privacy Risks (the “Draft Report”). The document is to be the first in a planned series of publications that will examine specific aspects of the IoT topic.

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On September 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced that it is seeking public comments on a proposed approach to advancing consumer privacy. The approach is divided into two parts: (1) a set of desired user-centric privacy outcomes of organizational practices, including transparency, control, reasonable minimization (of data collection, storage length, use and sharing), security, access and correction, risk management and accountability; and (2) a set of high-level goals that describe the outlines of the ecosystem that should be created to provide those protections, including harmonizing the regulatory landscape, balancing legal clarity and the flexibility to innovate, ensuring comprehensive application, employing a risk and outcome-based approach, creating mechanisms for interoperability with international norms and frameworks, incentivizing privacy research, ensuring that the Federal Trade Commission has the resources and authority to enforce, and ensuring scalability.

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On September 4, 2018, the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) announced a collaborative project to develop a voluntary privacy framework to help organizations manage privacy risk. The announcement states that the effort is motivated by innovative new technologies, such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, as well as the increasing complexity of network environments and detail of user data, which make protecting individuals’ privacy more difficult. “We’ve had great success with broad adoption of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and we see this as providing complementary guidance for managing privacy risk,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan.

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On July 2, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission announced that California company ReadyTech Corporation (“ReadyTech”) agreed to settle FTC allegations that ReadyTech misrepresented it was in the process of being certified as compliant with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”) framework for lawfully transferring consumer data from the European Union to the United States. The FTC finalized this settlement on October 17, 2018.

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On March 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce posted an update on the actions it has taken between January 2017 and March 2018 to support the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks (collectively, the “Privacy Shield”). The update details measures taken in support of commercial and national security issues relating to the Privacy Shield.

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On October 18, 2017, the EU Commission (“Commission”) released its report and accompanying working document on the first annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework (collectively, the “Report”). The Report states that the Privacy Shield framework continues to ensure an adequate level of protection for personal data that is transferred from the EU to the U.S. It also indicates that U.S. authorities have put in place the necessary structures and procedures to ensure the proper functioning of the Privacy Shield, including by providing new redress possibilities for EU individuals and instituting appropriate safeguards regarding government access to personal data. The Report also states that Privacy Shield-related complaint-handling and enforcement procedures have been properly established.

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Hunton & Williams LLP is pleased to announce that Lisa Sotto, chair of the firm’s top-ranked Global Privacy and Cybersecurity practice and managing partner of the firm’s New York office, has been selected as an arbitrator in connection with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework Binding Arbitration Program.

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On September 18, 2017, the European Commission (“Commission”) and U.S. Department of Commerce (“Department”) kicked off their first annual joint review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”).  To aid in the review, the Department invited a few industry leaders, including Hunton & Williams’ partner Lisa J. Sotto, who chairs the firm’s Global Privacy and Cybersecurity practice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee, to speak about their experiences during the first year of the Privacy Shield.

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On February 20, 2017, the Article 29 Working Party (“Working Party”) issued a template complaint form and Rules of Procedure that clarify the role of the EU Data Protection Authorities (“DPAs”) in resolving EU-U.S. Privacy Shield-related (“Privacy Shield”) complaints.

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On January 11, 2017, the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner announced that it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce on a new Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield framework (the “Swiss Privacy Shield”), which will allow companies to legally transfer Swiss personal data to the U.S. The Swiss Privacy Shield will replace the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor framework, and according to the Swiss government’s announcement, will “apply the same conditions as the European Union, which set up a comparable system with the U.S. last summer,” referring ...
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On January 4, 2017, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) announced the final release of NISTIR 8062, An Introduction to Privacy Engineering and Risk Management in Federal Systems. NISTIR 8062 describes the concept of applying systems engineering practices to privacy and sets forth a model for conducting privacy risk assessments on federal systems. According to the NIST, NISTIR 8062 “hardens the way we treat privacy, moving us one step closer to making privacy more science than art.”

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On October 19, 2016, the International Trade Administration issued a press release reaffirming the commitment of both the U.S. Department of Commerce and Japan’s Personal Information Protection Commission (the “PPC”) to continue implementation of the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (“CBPR”) system in order to foster the protection of personal information transferred across borders. According to the press release, the PPC’s “recent decision to recognize the system as a mechanism for international data transfers in the implementing guidelines for Japan’s amended privacy law marks an important milestone for the development of the APEC CBPR system in Japan.” Going forward, both agencies also have committed to cooperate in raising awareness and encouraging other APEC member economies to implement the CBPR system.

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On July 12, 2016, after months of negotiations and criticism, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”) was officially adopted by the European Commission and the Department of Commerce. Similar to the Safe Harbor, companies must certify their compliance with the seven principles comprising the Privacy Shield to use the Shield as a valid data transfer mechanism. Hunton & Williams partner Lisa J. Sotto and associate Chris D. Hydak recently published an article in Law360 entitled “The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: A How-To Guide.” In the article, Lisa and Chris detail the ...

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On July 26, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it has launched a new website that provides individuals and companies with additional information regarding the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (“Privacy Shield”). Among other things, the website provides information about complying with, and self-certifying to, the Privacy Shield’s principles. The Department of Commerce’s website will begin accepting certifications on August 1, 2016.
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On July 12, 2016, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the formal adoption of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (the “Privacy Shield”) framework, composed of an Adequacy Decision and accompanying Annexes.

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On June 15, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced that its multistakeholder process to develop a code of conduct regarding the commercial use of facial recognition technology had concluded with the group reaching a consensus on a best practices document. As we previously reported, the NTIA announced the multistakeholder process in December 2013 in response to the White House’s February 2012 privacy framework, which directed the NTIA to oversee the development of codes of conduct that specify how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies in specific business contexts.

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On May 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced that its multistakeholder process to develop best practices to address privacy, transparency and accountability issues related to private and commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) had concluded with the group reaching a consensus on a best practices document. As we previously reported, the NTIA announced in March 2015 the multistakeholder process in response to a Presidential Memorandum issued by the White House in February 2015, which directed NTIA to facilitate discussion between private sector entities to develop standards for commercial UAS use.

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On February 29, 2016, the European Commission issued the legal texts that will implement the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. These texts include a draft adequacy decision from the European Commission, Frequently Asked Questions and a Communication summarizing the steps that have been taken in the last few years to restore trust in transatlantic data flows.

The agreement in support of the new EU-U.S. transatlantic data transfer framework, known as the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, was reached on February 2, 2016, between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission. Once adopted, the adequacy decision will establish that the safeguards provided when transferring personal data pursuant to the new EU-U.S. Privacy Shield are equivalent to the EU data protection standards. In addition, the European Commission has stated that the new framework reflects the requirements that were set forth by the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) in the recent Schrems decision.

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On Monday, October 26, 2015, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová, gave a speech before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (“LIBE Committee”) on the recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) that invalidated the European Commission’s Safe Harbor Decision. The EU Commissioner welcomed the Article 29 Working Party’s statement and, in particular, its support for a new Safe Harbor framework by January 31, 2016. However, the EU Commissioner called for more clarity in the meantime. Accordingly, she announced that the European Commission will soon issue an explanatory document on the consequences of the CJEU’s ruling to provide guidance for businesses on international data transfers.

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In an article published by E-Commerce Law Reports, Hunton & Williams partners Bridget Treacy and Lisa Sotto discuss the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (the “CJEU’s”) recent ruling invalidating the European Commission’s Safe Harbor Decision.

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On July 9, 2015, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced the launch of its first cybersecurity multistakeholder process, in which representatives from across the security and technology industries will meet in September to discuss vulnerability research disclosure.

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On June 16, 2015, the Consumer Federation of America announced in a joint statement with other privacy advocacy groups that they would no longer participate in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) multistakeholder process to develop a code of conduct regarding the commercial use of facial recognition technology. The letter was signed by the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer Federation of America, Common Sense Media, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog and the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown University Law Center. This decision comes after 16 months of meetings and negotiations. In its announcement, the group highlighted its inability to come to an agreement with industry groups on how the issue of consumer consent would be addressed in a code of conduct regarding the use of facial recognition technology. Specifically, the disagreement between consumer and industry groups revolved around the default rule for consumer consent (i.e., whether the default should be opt-in or opt-out consent).

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On June 2, 2015, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) issued a press release on its recently published draft report, entitled Privacy Risk Management Framework for Federal Information Systems (the “Report”). The Report describes a privacy risk management framework (“PRMF”) for federal information systems designed to promote “a greater understanding of privacy impacts and the capability to address them in federal information systems through risk management.” The draft PRMF includes a Privacy Risk Assessment Methodology (“PRAM”) consisting of several worksheets for assessing the privacy impact of data actions.

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On March 31, 2015, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”) filed a petition (the “Petition”) with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit accusing the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) of unlawfully failing to include privacy rules in the FAA’s proposed framework of regulations for unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”), otherwise known as drones. The Petition stems from the FAA’s November 2014 denial of another EPIC petition calling for the FAA to address the threat of privacy and civil liberties associated with the deployment of aerial drones within the U.S.

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On April 7, 2015, the FTC announced proposed settlements with TES Franchising, LLC, an organization specializing in business coaching, and American International Mailing, Inc., an alternative mail transporting company, related to charges that the companies falsely claimed they were compliant with the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks.

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UAVOn March 4, 2015, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced a new multistakeholder process seeking comments on best practices concerning privacy, transparency and accountability issues related to the use of commercial and private unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”), otherwise known as drones. The NTIA’s request was made in response to a Presidential Memorandum issued by the White House on February 15 which directed NTIA to facilitate discussion between private sector entities to develop standards for commercial UAS use.

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From January 30 to February 3, 2015, the APEC Data Privacy Subgroup (“DPS”) and its parent committee, the Electronic Commerce Steering Group (“ECSG”), met in Subic Bay, Philippines, for another round of negotiations and meetings. The Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams participated as part of the U.S. delegation. The principal focus of the meetings was implementing the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (“CBPR”) system, developing a corollary APEC recognition mechanism for information processors, related work relevant to cross-border interoperability, and updating the APEC Privacy Framework. The following is a summary of highlights and outcomes from the meetings.

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On November 18, 2014, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams (the “Centre”) held the second workshop in its ongoing work on the risk-based approach to privacy and a Privacy Risk Framework. Approximately 70 Centre members, privacy regulators and other privacy experts met in Brussels to discuss the benefits and challenges of the risk-based approach, operationalizing risk assessments within organizations, and employing risk analysis in enforcement. In discussing these issues, the speakers emphasized that the risk-based approach does not change the obligation to comply with privacy laws but helps with the effective calibration of privacy compliance programs.

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On August 14, 2014, the Center for Digital Democracy (“CDD”) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and requested that the Commission investigate 30 companies certified to the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. In the complaint, CDD maintains that it analyzed 30 data marketing and profiling companies that currently are Safe Harbor-certified and identified the following five overarching themes that CDD claims “underscore the fundamental weakness of the Safe Harbor in its current incarnation,” including that the companies: 

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Hunton & Williams, in collaboration with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recently issued Business Without Borders: The Importance of Cross-Border Data Transfers to Global Prosperity, a report which highlights the benefits of cross-border data transfers to businesses in the international marketplace. The report underscores the importance of developing data transfer mechanisms that protect privacy and facilitate the free-flow of data, and also explores opportunities for new data transfer regimes.

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Hunton & Williams LLP, in coordination with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recently issued a report entitled Business Without Borders: The Importance of Cross-Border Data Transfers to Global Prosperity, highlighting the benefits of cross-border data transfers to businesses in the international marketplace. The report underscores the importance of developing data transfer mechanisms that protect privacy and facilitate the free-flow of data, and also explores opportunities for new data transfer regimes.

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On May 12, 2014, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report highlighting the benefits of cross-border data transfers across all sectors of the economy. Hunton & Williams LLP’s Global Privacy and Cybersecurity team developed the report with the Chamber of Commerce. The report, Business Without Borders: The Importance of Cross-Border Data Transfers to Global Prosperity, presents pragmatic solutions for developing international mechanisms that both protect privacy and facilitate cross-border data flows.

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On May 9, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with clothing manufacturer American Apparel related to charges that the company falsely claimed to comply with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. According to the FTC’s complaint, the company violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by deceptively representing, through statements in its privacy policy, that it held a current Safe Harbor certification even though it had allowed the certification to expire.

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On May 1, 2014, the White House released a report examining how Big Data is affecting government, society and commerce. In addition to questioning longstanding tenets of privacy legislation, such as notice and consent, the report recommends (1) passing national data breach legislation, (2) revising the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”), and (3) advancing the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

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On the 25th anniversary of his first proposal for what would become the World Wide Web (the “Web”), Sir Timothy John “Tim” Berners-Lee expressed concern at what he sees as the increasing threat that governments and commercial interests pose to the openness and accessibility of the Web. In a wide-ranging interview with the UK’s The Guardian newspaper, Berners-Lee criticized the approach that some lawmakers have taken on issues such as net neutrality and copyright legislation, as well as the decision by some countries to limit access to the wider Internet. He also called for an end to the control that the U.S. Department of Commerce exerts over the Internet Domain Name System.

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On March 6, 2014, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) signed a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) to promote increased cooperation and information sharing between the two enforcement agencies.

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On February 11, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced a proposed settlement with Fantage.com stemming from allegations that the company made statements in its privacy policy that deceptively claimed that Fantage.com was complying with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework.

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On January 21, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced settlements with twelve companies that allegedly falsely claimed that they complied with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. The settlements stem from allegations that the companies violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by falsely representing that they held current Safe Harbor certifications despite having allowed their certifications to expire. The companies involved represent a variety of industries, ranging from technology and accounting to consumer products and National Football League teams.

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In January 2014, the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (“ITA”) posted a Key Points document to provide additional information about the benefits, oversight and enforcement of the U.S.-European Union and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks. The Key Points document supplements information about the Safe Harbor Frameworks already available on the Department of Commerce website. For example, in the Key Points, the ITA notes that: 
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On December 3, 2013, Lawrence Strickling, Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, spoke at the American European Community Association Conference in Brussels on Data Protection: The Challenges and Opportunities for Individuals and Businesses. Strickling discussed the Obama Administration’s commitment to “preserving the dynamism and openness of the Internet, enhancing the free flow of information, and strengthening our Internet economy.” He addressed the issues surrounding U.S. surveillance operations and the European Commission’s recent report on Safe Harbor. Strickling also provided a progress report on improvements to consumer privacy protection since the White House released its Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in February 2012, including an update on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (“NTIA’s”) multistakeholder process to develop industry codes of conduct.

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On December 3, 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced a new multistakeholder process to develop a code of conduct regarding the commercial use of facial recognition technology. The first meeting is set for February 6, 2014 in Washington, D.C., and will provide stakeholders with background on the privacy issues associated with facial recognition technology, including how facial recognition technology currently is being used by businesses and how it may be used in the near future. The February meeting is open to all interested stakeholders and will be available for viewing via webcast. Additional meetings are planned for the spring and summer of 2014.

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On November 27, 2013, the European Commission published an analysis of the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Framework, as well as other EU-U.S. data transfer agreements. The analysis includes the following documents:

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On September 30, 2013, Hunton & Williams LLP hosted representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce for a timely discussion of the Safe Harbor Framework, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) Cross-Border Privacy Rules System (“CBPRs”), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (“TTIP”) negotiations. The panel also addressed the development of privacy codes of conduct and privacy legislation being developed by the Department of Commerce.

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On September 30, 2013, Hunton & Williams LLP will host a panel discussion with the U.S. Department of Commerce on The Latest International Data Privacy Developments. The panel will take place in Hunton & Williams’ New York office from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. EDT, with a cocktail reception following the presentation. The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (“ITA”) will brief participants on important international data privacy issues, including:
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On August 6, 2013, the Obama Administration posted links on The White House Blog to reports from the Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security and Treasury containing recommendations on incentivizing companies to align their cybersecurity practices with the Cybersecurity Framework. These reports respond to the Administration’s February 2013 executive order entitled Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity (the “Executive Order”).

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On July 25, 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced the release of the Short Form Notice Code of Conduct to Promote Transparency in Mobile App Practices, which was developed through the Privacy Multistakeholder Process: Mobile Application Transparency convened by the Department of Commerce. The voluntary Code of Conduct provides guidance regarding short-form notices about the collection and sharing of consumer information with third parties. Short-form notices that comply with the Code of Conduct generally must contain the following content:
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On July 22-23, 2013, the APEC E-Commerce Business Alliance and the China International Electronic Commerce Center, a subsidiary organization of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, held a seminar in Beijing entitled Workshop on the Online Data Privacy Protection in APEC Region. In addition to delegates from Mainland China, representatives from numerous other jurisdictions were in attendance, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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On July 18-19, 2013, the European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council held an informal meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, where Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, openly criticized the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (“ITA”) will host a data privacy seminar in Providence, Rhode Island, on Thursday, July 18 from 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. EDT. Seminar participants will hear from Commerce privacy experts who will discuss the Obama Administration’s privacy blueprint and provide updates on significant international developments, including the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) group’s work to implement the Cross-Border Privacy Rules System. These privacy developments could have a significant impact on how companies comply with laws and privacy regulations in the United States, Asia and Europe. A representative from the Safe Harbor-certified company Textron Inc. (“Textron”) also will discuss the company’s experience developing and implementing a privacy compliance program.

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On April 12, 2013, the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (“ITA”) issued a guidance document to clarify how the U.S.-European Union Safe Harbor Framework facilitates the transfer of personal data from the European Union to the United States in the cloud computing context. The document underscores that the U.S.- European Union Safe Harbor Framework is an officially recognized means of complying with the adequacy requirement of EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. ITA has received a number of inquiries from Safe Harbor participants indicating that they (and their EU clients, customers and partners) have heard conflicting information and are unsure about how the Safe Harbor Framework may enable data transfers to cloud service providers in the United States.

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On March 28, 2013, the Department of Commerce’s Notice of Inquiry into “Incentives to Adopt Improved Cybersecurity Practices” was published in the Federal Register (78 Fed. Reg. 18954). This Notice, which includes a series of broad questions for owners of the nation’s critical infrastructure, follows up on earlier Commerce inquiries focused on incentives for noncritical infrastructure. The Notice states that Commerce will use the responses it receives to evaluate a set of incentives designed to encourage owners of critical infrastructure to participate in a voluntary cybersecurity program. The Notice also indicates that Commerce will use the responses to inform its evaluation of whether the incentives would require legislation or could be implemented pursuant to existing law and authorities. In addition, the Notice provides that Commerce may use the responses to develop a broader set of recommendations that would apply to U.S. industry as a whole.

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The U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (“ITA”) will host a data privacy seminar in Waltham, Massachusetts, on Monday, March 25 from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. EST. Seminar participants will hear from a number of Commerce privacy experts who will discuss the Obama Administration’s privacy blueprint and provide updates on significant international developments involving the U.S.-European Union and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Frameworks and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group’s work to implement the Cross-Border Privacy Rules System. These privacy developments could have a significant impact on your company and its compliance with laws and privacy regulations in the United States, Asia and Europe.

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The French Data Protection Authority (the “CNIL”) reports that in late January 2013, representatives of the Article 29 Working Party and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group (“APEC”) met in Jakarta, Indonesia, to discuss interoperability between EU Binding Corporate Rules and APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules governing international data transfers. The U.S. Department of Commerce also is participating in the process to develop a roadmap for future progress toward establishing tools companies can use to facilitate true interoperability ...
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On February 1, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission issued a new report entitled Mobile Privacy Disclosures: Building Trust Through Transparency. The report makes recommendations “for the major participants in the mobile ecosystem as they work to improve mobile privacy disclosures,” offering specific recommendations for mobile platforms, app developers, advertising networks and other third parties operating in this space. The FTC’s report also makes mention of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s efforts to engage in a multistakeholder process to develop an industry code of conduct for mobile apps.

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On December 19, 2012, the European Commission announced its formal recognition of personal data protection in New Zealand. The European Commission approved New Zealand’s status as a country that provides “adequate protection”  of personal data under the European Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. This determination means that personal information from Europe may flow freely to New Zealand.  Although the law in New Zealand has been modernized over the years, it is not new.  New Zealand will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of its data protection law in 2013. Furthermore, New Zealand has been very active in the development of international standards at the OECD and APEC, and has participated in initiatives such as the Global Accountability Project. New Zealand’s request to be deemed adequate has been pending for several years. This determination follows the positive Opinion of the Article 29 Working Party issued on April 4, 2011, concerning the level of protection under New Zealand’s law.

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On November 22, 2012, the Brussels-based publication European Voice published an editorial by U.S. Department of Commerce General Counsel Cameron Kerry entitled Avoiding a Data Divide Between the US and the EU. The article notes the importance of continued collaboration between the European Union and the United States as both assess their respective privacy frameworks to ensure that any changes encourage enhanced trade and strong economic growth, but also contain robust protections for consumers. Mr. Kerry’s editorial emphasizes the need to foster global privacy ...

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On December 5, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. EST, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (“ITA”) will be hosting a webinar to discuss data privacy issues. Webinar participants will hear from Commerce privacy experts on the Obama Administration’s privacy blueprint. There also will be an update on significant international data privacy developments such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (“APEC”) forum’s work to implement the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (“CBPRs”) system and the U.S.-European Union and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor ...
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Reporting from Washington, D.C., Hunton & Williams partner Frederick Eames writes:

Elections have consequences. What are the consequences of the 2012 election on U.S. federal privacy, data security and breach notice legislation? We outline some key developments in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate and explain how these developments might affect legislative priorities and prospects for the 113th Congress beginning in 2013.

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On September 22, 2012, the Peruvian Ministry of Justice and Human Rights issued a draft regulation to implement Peru’s new Personal Data Protection Law. The comment period expires on October 5, 2012; however, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration has requested an extension to allow additional time for comments. The Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams LLP is considering high-level comments on the draft regulation. It is thought that Peru may intend to issue the final regulation prior to the 34th International ...

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On September 13, 2012, the PCI Security Standards Council (“PCI SSC”) issued new guidelines entitled “PCI Mobile Payment Acceptance Security Guidelines” (the “Guidelines”), which outline best practices for mobile payment acceptance security. As we reported in May, the PCI SSC Mobile Working Group published its “At a Glance: Mobile Payment Acceptance Security” fact sheet, detailing how merchants can more securely accept payments on mobile devices.

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On July 26, 2012, acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank announced that APEC’s Joint Oversight Panel has approved the United States’ request to participate in the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules System. The panel also approved the Federal Trade Commission’s participation as the system’s first privacy enforcement authority. The next step will be for the United States to nominate one or more accountability agents for the panel’s approval. Accordingly, the Department of Commerce will publish a Federal Register Notice in the coming days to provide guidance on how potential accountability agents may seek recognition. Once a U.S. accountability agent has been approved, American companies will be able to submit their cross-border privacy rules to be recognized as meeting the APEC standard.

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On July 12, 2012, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) of the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated a multistakeholder process to develop guidance for transparency in the mobile environment. The NTIA has announced that they will schedule a second meeting in August, and encouraged small group discussions in the interim. This is not the first multistakeholder process to wrestle with transparency in the mobile environment, and those previous efforts – which date back almost a decade – may prove useful to such discussions.

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On July 12, 2012, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) of the U.S. Department of Commerce convened the first meeting of its multistakeholder process to develop industry codes of conduct. As we reported in June, the stated purpose for this meeting, entitled “Seeking Common Ground Regarding Mobile Application Transparency,” was to establish “a working dialogue that will eventually lead to a code of conduct that is broadly adopted.” Lawrence Strickling, Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, opened the session, which he characterized as an effort to highlight the key issues and explore topics to be addressed. Strickling emphasized that the structure and approach to the work would likely differ from that with which participants were familiar, and that it would be important to arrive at a constructive process that encourages collaboration and open engagement.

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On June 15, 2012, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) announced that, in response to a substantial number of comments it received regarding mobile privacy issues, it will convene its first multistakeholder meeting on July 12 to begin the process of developing a code of conduct that promotes transparency in the mobile application context.

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On May 24, 2012, Hunton & Williams LLP and Jordan Lawrence Group hosted a webcast on “Preparing for a New U.S. Privacy Landscape: An Overview of the FTC and White House Frameworks.” The webcast featured Lisa J. Sotto, partner and head of the Global Privacy and Data Security practice at Hunton & Williams, Aaron P. Simpson, partner at Hunton & Williams, and Rebecca Perry, Executive Vice President of Professional Services of Jordan Lawrence Group.
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On May 26, 2012, the United States government submitted its request to participate in the APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules (“CBPRs”) system. The CBPRs system was endorsed by APEC leaders in November 2011. The protocol requires a participating economy to submit:

  • A letter of intent to participate;
  • Confirmation that a privacy enforcement agency in the economy is a participant in the Cross-Border Privacy Enforcement Arrangement;
  • Notice that the economy intends to make use of at least one APEC-recognized accountability agency; and
  • A description of the domestic laws and other legal mechanisms to give effect to the enforcement activities related to the activities of the accountability agent, which also must include an enforcement map.
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On May 24, 2012, Hunton & Williams LLP and Jordan Lawrence Group are pleased to present a 45-minute webcast on “Preparing for a New U.S. Privacy Landscape: An Overview of the FTC and White House Frameworks.” Presenters Lisa J. Sotto, partner and head of the Global Privacy and Data Security practice at Hunton & Williams, Aaron P. Simpson, partner at Hunton & Williams, and Rebecca Perry, Executive Vice President of Professional Services of Jordan Lawrence Group, will highlight the key privacy and information security issues contained in these new frameworks and the impact they will ...
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Drawing on its eleven years of experience facilitating multistakeholder processes, on April 2, 2012, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams LLP filed comments in response to the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s request for public comments on the multistakeholder process to develop consumer data privacy codes of conduct. The NTIA’s request relates to the topics and processes that will inform the creation of binding codes of conduct as discussed in the Obama Administration’s February ...

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On March 26, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission issued a new privacy report entitled “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers.” The report charts a path forward for companies to act in the interest of protecting consumer privacy.

In his introductory remarks, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz indicated his support for Do Not Track stating, “Simply put, your computer is your property; no one has the right to put anything on it that you don’t want.” In later comments he predicted that if effective Do Not Track mechanisms are not available by the end of this year, the new Congress likely would introduce a legislative solution.

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On March 19, 2012, the European Commission hosted this year’s Safe Harbor Conference in Washington, D.C., to address the transfer of data from Europe to the United States. Although it appears the Safe Harbor framework will remain unchanged for the time being, it seems unlikely the United States will be considered adequate, or even interoperable, with the EU for purposes of cross-border data transfers.

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On March 21, 2012, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced a one-week extension to the deadline for responses to their March 2 request for public comments on the multistakeholder process to develop consumer data privacy codes of conduct. Comments are now due on Monday, April 2, 2012. The request for comments relates to both the topics and processes that will inform the creation of binding codes of conduct as discussed in the Obama Administration’s February release of a framework for a Consumer Privacy Bill of ...

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On February 24, 2012, Eric Chabrow of BankInfoSecurity interviewed Lisa J. Sotto, partner and head of the Global Privacy and Data Security practice at Hunton & Williams LLP. Discussing the need for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, Sotto briefly outlined the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed bill, and its potential impact on businesses.

 

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The White House today released its long-awaited report outlining a framework for U.S. data protection and privacy policy. As expected, “Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Global Innovation in the Global Digital Economy” articulates a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights based on the individual’s right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from the individual and how companies use the data. The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, which reflects principles of fair information practices and applies to personal data, sets forth individual rights for consumers and corresponding obligations of companies in connection with personal data. It also provides for the consumer’s right to:

  • transparent privacy and data security practices;
  • expect that companies will collect, use and disclose data in a manner consistent with the context in which it was collected;
  • have their data handled in a secure manner;
  • access and correct personal data;
  • set reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain; and
  • have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.
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The U.S. Department of Commerce has confirmed that the European Commission will host this year’s Safe Harbor Conference in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 2012. The venue marks a change from the tradition of previous sessions which have taken place in the host authority’s capital city (Washington, D.C. or Brussels). The Conference will follow the release of the European Commission’s draft revisions to the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46, which are expected on or around January 25, 2012. The widely leaked draft of the proposal does not contain language pertaining to the ...
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The Department of Commerce released an English translation of Peru’s Law for Personal Data Protection (Ley de Protección de Datos Personales, Ley No. 29733).  The law passed Peru’s Congress on June 7, 2011, and was signed by the president July 2, 2011.  Peru’s adoption of this new law is in keeping with a recent trend in Latin America, where Uruguay, Mexico and Colombia also have passed privacy legislation.

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As we previously reported, the Mexican government has developed draft regulations for the implementation of Mexico’s Federal Law on the Protection of Personal Data in the Possession of Private Parties (Ley Federal de Protección de Datos Personales en Posesión de los Particulares). The U.S. Department of Commerce recently circulated an English translation of the draft regulations. Public comments on the draft are due on August 3, 2011, and Mexican officials have indicated they will not grant extensions for late submissions. A final version of the regulations is ...

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On June 24, 2011, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration released a PowerPoint presentation on Mexico’s new private sector data protection law that was shared at a meeting of the OECD Working Party on Information Security and Privacy by Mexico’s Ministry of Economy and Federal Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection (“IFAI”).  The presentation provides guidance on the creation of privacy notices and establishment of self-regulatory schemes, and also outlines the responsibilities of the Ministry of Economy and the IFAI ...
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On June 8, 2011, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force released a report entitled “Cybersecurity, Innovation and the Internet Economy.”  The report contains four broad policy recommendations: (1) the creation of a nationally recognized approach to minimize vulnerabilities for the Internet and networking services industry, (2) the development of incentives to combat cybersecurity threats, (3) increased cybersecurity education and research, and (4) the promotion of international cooperation to enable sharing of cybersecurity best practices.

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On March 16, 2011, U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Lawrence Strickling called on Congress to enact robust, baseline legislation to “reform consumer data privacy in the Internet economy.” Speaking before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Assistant Secretary Strickling emphasized the Department of Commerce’s support for a legislative proposal that would adopt many of the recommendations of the “Green Paper,” a Department report authored last December.

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On January 28, 2011, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams LLP filed comments with the United States Department of Commerce in which the Centre stressed privacy governance based on data stewardship by accountable organizations.  The Centre was one of a number of organizations that submitted comments in response to the Department of Commerce’s privacy paper, “Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework,” which was released in December 2010.  The theme of today’s comments is similar to that which the Centre suggested earlier this month in its comments responding to the European Commission’s consultation paper.

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On January 11, 2011, Michelle O’Neill, U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade, held a briefing on her November 2010 meetings in Brussels with European data protection authorities.  She discussed a data protection and privacy forum that was convened in November at which she met with several high-level European regulators, including Jacob Kohnstamm, Viviane Reding and Peter Hustinx.  O’Neill mentioned “the right to be forgotten” as a current hot-button issue in Europe.  Commissioner Reding, who is firmly in charge of the reconsideration of the EU Data Protection Directive, focused on ensuring easier compliance with EU data protection rules and greater harmonization among Member States.  O’Neill stated that Peter Hustinx was encouraged by the work ongoing in the United States, including the “Green Paper” issued by the Department of Commerce.  He considers the various U.S. efforts a basis for further dialogue with U.S. authorities.  O’Neill noted that comments to the EU consultation are due January 15, 2011.  The Department of Commerce intends to file a response.

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