Posts tagged Internet of Things.
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Last week, Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox signed three privacy-related bills into law. The bills are focused on, respectively, protection of motor vehicle consumer data, regulations on social media companies with respect to minors, and access to protected health information by third parties. The Utah legislature appears to be focused on data-related legislation this session, as Governor Cox signed two other bills related to AI into law last week as well.

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On November 9, 2023, the European Parliament adopted, by a majority of 481 votes in favor, 31 votes against and 71 abstentions, the final text of the Data Act. As explained in our previous blog, the Data Act aims to “ensure fairness in the digital environment, stimulate a competitive data market, open opportunities for data-driven innovation and make data more accessible for all” and was initially proposed by the European Commission on February 23, 2022.

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On October 19, 2022, Bloomberg Law reported that the White House is planning to introduce a system to label Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices with information related to the devices’ cybersecurity risk.

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On September 6, 2022, the California legislature presented Assembly Bill 2392 to Governor Gavin Newsom. AB-2392, which has not yet been signed by Governor Newsom, would allow Internet-connected device manufacturers to satisfy existing device labeling requirements by complying with National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) standards for consumer Internet of Things (“IoT”) products.

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On April 8, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued Cybersecurity in Medical Devices: Quality System Considerations and Content of Premarket Submissions, a draft guidance document for industry and FDA staff. Industry stakeholders will have until July 7, 2022 to comment on the proposed guidance.

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On February 23, 2022, the European Commission adopted a Proposal for a Regulation designed to harmonize rules on the fair access to and use of data generated in the EU across all economic sectors (the “Data Act”). The Data Act is intended to “ensure fairness in the digital environment, stimulate a competitive data market, open opportunities for data-driven innovation and make data more accessible for all.” Importantly, the Data Act applies to all data generated in the EU, not only personal data, which is regulated by the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

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On September 14 and 15, 2021, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) held a public workshop, as part of its effort to create a consumer labeling program to communicate the security capabilities of consumer Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices and software development practices, as mandated by the Biden administration’s May 2021 Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity. NIST, in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission  and other agencies, must identify the criteria and components of such a labeling program by February 6, 2022.

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On November 17, 2020, the Senate passed by unanimous consent H.R. 1668, the Internet of Things (“IoT”) Cybersecurity Improvement Act (the “IoT Bill”). The House previously passed the IoT Bill in September after negotiations with the Senate to resolve differences in their respective bills. The IoT Bill now heads to the President’s desk for signature.

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We previously posted about the Tapplock, Inc. (“Tapplock”) settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) over allegations that the company violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by falsely claiming that its “smart locks” were secure. Earlier this month, the FTC voted 5-0 to approve the settlement.

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A Canadian maker of Internet-connected padlocks, Tapplock, Inc. (“Tapplock”), settled Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) allegations that the company violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by falsely claiming that its “smart locks” were secure. The FTC alleged that Tapplock “did not take reasonable measures to secure its locks, or take reasonable precautions or follow industry best practices for protecting consumers’ personal information.” The FTC further alleged that Tapplock did not have a security program in place prior to security researchers discovering vulnerabilities in the design and function of the smart locks.

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Listen as Phyllis H. Marcus, partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth and Co-Chair of the ABA Antitrust Law Section’s Privacy and Information Security Committee, speaks about the privacy concerns over using smart devices on the ABA’s Our Curious Amalgam podcast, Is Your Assistant Spying on You? Understanding the Privacy Law Issues Involving In-Home Assistants.

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On February 19, 2020, the European Commission (“the Commission”) published a White Paper entitled “a European Approach to Excellence and Trust” on artificial intelligence (“AI”). This followed an announcement in November 2019, from the Commission’s current President, Ursula von der Leyen, that she intended to propose rules to regulate AI within the first 100 days of her Presidency, which commenced on December 1, 2019. This White Paper was published alongside the Commission’s data and digital strategies for Europe.

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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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The Belgian Data Protection Authority (the “Belgian DPA”) recently published the updated list of the types of processing activities which require a data protection impact assessment (“DPIA”). Article 35.4 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) obligates supervisory authorities (“SAs”) to establish a list of the processing operations that require a DPIA and transmit it to the European Data Protection Board (the “EDPB”).

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The European Commission (“Commission”), the European Parliament (“Parliament”) and the Council of the European Union reached an agreement earlier this month regarding changes to the Proposal for a Regulation on ENISA, the “EU Cybersecurity Agency”, and repealing Regulation (EU) 526/2013, and on Information and Communication Technology Cybersecurity Certification (the “Cybersecurity Act”). The agreement empowers the EU Cybersecurity Agency (known as European Union Agency for Network and Information and Security, or “ENISA”) and introduce an EU-wide cybersecurity certification for services and devices.

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Vizio, Inc. (“Vizio”), a California-based company best known for its internet-connected televisions, agreed to a $17 million settlement that, if approved, will resolve multiple proposed consumer class actions consolidated in California federal court. The suits’ claims, which are limited to the period between February 1, 2014 and February 6, 2017, involve data-tracking software Vizio installed on its smart TVs. The software allegedly identified content displayed on Vizio TVs and enabled Vizio to determine the date, time, channel of programs and whether a viewer watched live or recorded content. The viewing patterns were connected to viewer’s IP addresses, though never, Vizio emphasized in its press release announcing the proposed settlement, to an individual’s name, address, or similar identifying information. According to Vizio, viewing data allows advertisers and programmers to develop content better aligned with consumers’ preferences and interests.  

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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 28, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two identical bills regulating Internet-connected devices sold in California. S.B. 327 and A.B. 1906 (the “Bills”), aimed at the “Internet of Things,” require that manufacturers of connected devices—devices which are “capable of connecting to the Internet, directly or indirectly,” and are assigned an Internet Protocol or Bluetooth address, such as Nest’s thermostat—outfit the products with “reasonable” security features by January 1, 2020; or, in the bills’ words: “equip [a] device with a reasonable security feature or features that are appropriate to the nature and function of the device, appropriate to the information it may collect, contain, or transmit, and designed to protect the device and any information contained therein from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure[.]”

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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 June 27, 2018, the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China published the Draft Regulations on the Classified Protection of Cybersecurity (网络安全等级保护条例(征求意见稿)) (“Draft Regulation”) and is seeking comments from the public by July 27, 2018.

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On July 12, 2018, two U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to investigate the privacy policies and practices of smart TV manufacturers. In their letter, Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) note that smart TVs can “compile detailed profiles about users’ preferences and characteristics” which can then allow companies to personalize ads to be sent to “customers’ computers, phones or any other device that shares the smart TV’s internet connection.”

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On February 6, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) released its agenda for PrivacyCon 2018, which will take place on February 28. Following recent FTC trends, PrivacyCon 2018 will focus on privacy and data security considerations associated with emerging technologies, including the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The event will feature four panel presentations by over 20 researchers, including (1) collection, exfiltration and leakage of private information; (2) consumer preferences, expectations and behaviors; (3) economics, markets and experiments and (4) tools and ratings for privacy management. The FTC’s press release emphasizes the event’s focus on the economics of privacy, including “how to quantify the harms that result when companies fail to secure consumer information, and how to balance the costs and benefits of privacy-protective technologies and practices.”

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On January 18, 2018, Hunton & Williams LLP’s retail industry lawyers, composed of more than 100 lawyers across practices, released their annual Retail Year in Review publication. The Retail Year in Review includes several articles authored by our Global Privacy and Cybersecurity lawyers, and touches on many topics of interest including blockchain, ransomware, cyber insurance and the Internet of Things.

Read the full publication.

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On January 8, 2018, the FTC announced an agreement with electronic toy manufacturer, VTech Electronics Limited and its U.S. subsidiary, settling charges that VTech violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) by collecting personal information from hundreds of thousands of children without providing direct notice or obtaining their parent’s consent, and failing to take reasonable steps to secure the data it collected. Under the agreement, VTech will (1) pay a $650,000 civil penalty; (2) implement a comprehensive data security program, subject to ...
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On October 13, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission published the twelfth and final blog post in its “Stick with Security” series (the “Series”). The Series focused on the 10 principles outlined in the FTC’s Start with Security Guide for Businesses and sought to provide insights and lessons learned on data security from recent FTC cases, closed investigations and questions and comments received from businesses. The final post, entitled Stick with Security: FTC resources for your business, outlines the resources available to businesses to put the principles detailed in the Series into practice. These can be found on the FTC’s Data Security page.

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On July 25, 2016, the Article 29 Working Party (the “Working Party”) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (“EDPS”) released their respective Opinions regarding the review of Directive 2002/58/EC on privacy and electronic communications (the “ePrivacy Directive"). Both the Working Party and the EDPS stressed that new rules should complement the protections available under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

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On April 12, 2016, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) announced that it will participate in a coordinated online audit to analyze the impact of everyday connected devices on privacy. The audit will be coordinated by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (“GPEN”), a global network of approximately 50 data protection authorities (“DPAs”) from around the world.

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On March 23, 2016, the Chairwoman of the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) opened proceedings that will lead to the release of a compliance pack on connected vehicles.

The CNIL announced that the compliance pack will contain guidelines regarding the responsible use of personal data for the next generation of vehicles. It will assist various stakeholders in the industry prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation.

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On November 20, 2015, Markus Heyder, Vice President of the Centre for Information Policy Leadership (“CIPL”) at Hunton & Williams LLP, discussed how “transparency is increasingly understood as a core component of addressing the challenges of the modern information economy” and a key catalyst for a productive and innovative information economy in an article entitled Transparency and the Future of Driverless Privacy published by the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

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On October 27, 2015, Hunton & Williams LLP’s Centre for Information Policy Leadership (“CIPL”) will conduct a joint workshop with Nymity on Bridging Disparate Privacy Regimes through Organizational Accountability. As a side event to the 37th International Privacy Conference in Amsterdam during the week of October 26, the workshop is specifically designed to support and further explore the theme of global “Privacy Bridges” that will be discussed at the International Privacy Conference. Organizational accountability is one of the proposed bridges in the Privacy Bridges Report which the international expert group released earlier this week.

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Hunton & Williams welcomes Phyllis H. Marcus as counsel to the firm’s privacy and competition teams. Phyllis joins the firm from the Federal Trade Commission, where she held a number of leadership positions, most recently as Chief of Staff of the Division of Advertising Practices. Phyllis led the FTC’s children’s online privacy program, including bringing a number of enforcement actions and overhauling the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule. She offers the privacy team a keen understanding of the complexities of the revised regulations, as well as broader issues relating to student privacy, mobile applications and the Internet of Things.

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On October 6 and 7, 2015, the Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams LLP (“CIPL”), a global privacy policy think-tank based in Washington D.C. and London, and the Instituto Brasiliense de Direito Publico, a legal institute based in Brazil, will co-host a two-day Global Data Privacy Dialogue in Brazil, at the IDP’s conference facilities.

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On August 11, 2015, the Online Trust Alliance, a nonprofit group whose goal is to increase online trust and promote the vitality of the Internet, released a framework (the “Framework”) for best practices in privacy and data security for the Internet of Things. The Framework was developed by the Internet of Things Trustworthy Working Group, which the Online Trust Alliance created in January 2015 to address “the mounting concerns and collective impact of connected devices.”

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On March 23, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission announced the formation of the Office of Technology Research and Investigation (“OTRI”), which the FTC describes as “an office designed to expand the FTC’s capacity to protect consumers in an age of rapid technological innovation.”

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On January 27, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission announced the release of a report on the Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World (the “Report”). The Report describes the current state of the Internet of Things, analyzes the benefits and risks of its development, applies privacy principles to the Internet of Things and discusses whether legislation is needed to address this burgeoning area. The Report follows a workshop by the FTC on this topic in November 2013.

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On January 6, 2015, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez gave the opening remarks on “Privacy and the IoT: Navigating Policy Issues” at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (“International CES”) in Las Vegas, Nevada. She addressed the key challenges the Internet of Things (“IoT”) poses to consumer privacy and how companies can find appropriate solutions that build consumer trust.

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Join us at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (“IAPP”) Data Protection Congress in Brussels, November 18-20, 2014. Hunton & Williams privacy professionals will be featured speakers in the following sessions:
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During the October 14, 2014 closed session of the 36th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (the “Conference”) held in Balaclava, Mauritius, the host, the Data Protection Office of Mauritius, and member authorities of the Conference issued the “Mauritius Declaration on the Internet of Things,” and four new resolutions – a “Resolution on Accreditation” of new members, a “Resolution on Big Data,” a “Resolution on enforcement cooperation,” and a “Resolution on Privacy in the digital age.” Brief summaries of each of these documents are below.

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On September 22, 2014, the Article 29 Working Party (the “Working Party”) released an Opinion on the Internet of Things (the “Opinion”) that was adopted during the last plenary session of the Working Party in September 2014. With this Opinion, the Working Party intends to draw attention to the privacy and data protection challenges raised by the Internet of Things and to propose recommendations for the stakeholders to comply with the current EU data protection legal framework.

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The Centre for Information Policy Leadership at Hunton & Williams (the “Centre”) has published a white paper entitled A Risk-based Approach to Privacy: Improving Effectiveness in Practice. This is the first paper in the Centre’s new multi-year Privacy Risk Framework Project. It follows the Centre’s March 2014 Risk Workshop, held in Paris with Centre members, privacy experts, regulators and other stakeholders. The Risk Framework Project is the next phase of the Centre’s earlier work on organizational accountability, focusing specifically on one important aspect of accountability – conducting risk assessments that identify, evaluate and mitigate the privacy risks to individuals posed by an organization’s proposed data processing.

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Hunton & Williams Insurance Litigation & Counseling partner Lon Berk reports:

The recently publicized Secure Sockets Layer (“SSL”) bug affecting Apple Inc. products raises a question regarding insurance coverage that is likely to become increasingly relevant as “The Internet of Things” expands. Specifically, on certain devices, the code used to set SSL connections contains an extra line that causes the program to skip a critical verification step. Consequently, unless a security patch is downloaded, when these devices are used on shared wireless networks they are subject to so-called “man-in-the-middle” security attacks and other serious security risks. Assuming that sellers of such devices may be held liable for damages, there may be questions about insurance to cover the risks.

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On November 19, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission held a workshop in Washington, D.C. to discuss The Internet of Things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World. FTC Chair Edith Ramirez and FTC Senior Attorney Karen Jagielski provided the opening remarks. Chairwoman Ramirez raised three key issues for workshop participants to consider:

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