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Privacy & Security

Technology Giants Facing Historical BIPA Violations  

A settlement has been reached in a $100 million dollar class action lawsuit against Google impacting an estimated 1.4 million Illinois resident users. The order comes as a result of Rivera, et al. v. Google LLC , where users photographs appeared in the storage application service, known as Google Photos, without having acquired proper consent nor provided notice to its users. Google is only one of many technology giants joining trending litigation in violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).  While this settlement  is one of the largest in Illinois to date, one can expect there to be more class-action lawsuits on the way.

The Long Road Toward Federal Data Privacy

In June of this year, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Consumer protection and Commerce met regarding the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA). At this meeting the committee members highlighted that this bill, seeking to establish federal data privacy, is intended to be a compromise on the topic of federal privacy legislation as committee members from both sides agree that a federal privacy act is necessary.

Digital Footprints in the Post-Roe Era

On June 24, the Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade. In doing so, it declared that there was no longer a constitutional right to abortion, allowing state police power to determine its legality. Immediately after this decision, trigger laws went into effect across a quarter of the states, making abortions illegal. Post Dobbs, information collected on personal devices, especially through period-tracking and telemedicine apps, is at risk of being exposed and utilized as criminal evidence.

Imperative Progress in Your Data Privacy and Protection

Amanda Scott Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2024 In June 2022, a draft of a bipartisan bicameral bill known as the American Data Privacy and Protection Act was introduced. This bill was proposed as a replacement to current laws to further protect and strengthen federal data privacy and protection regulations. This …
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Tick Tock for TikTok as Kids Addiction to App Grows

In June of this year, a new California bill, which allows social media companies to be sued by state government attorneys for having features that contribute to the addiction of children to their apps, cleared the state Senate. The bill was originally brought to California’s state assembly as one that would permit parents to sue social media giants for up to $25,000 per violation but was later amended after lobbying from business and tech-industry groups. The worry that social media is able to exploit children through ads, notifications, and other features in the design that are promoting addiction has amplified since the premiere of 2020 documentary, “The Social Dilemma.” Since then, the warning that regulation was looming has quickly turned into actual movement towards regulating the actions of social media companies. The bill has since failed, a disappointing end to an initiative that could have made a real change towards keeping social media giants in check.

Meta Sued for Unlawful Collection of Patient Data

A recent class action lawsuit alleges Meta (the parent company of Facebook) used an illegal tracking tool to retrieve patient information from over 664 hospitals for marketing purposes. Meta and a handful of US-based hospitals have violated privacy laws such as HIPAA that control the means and methods for lawfully handling covered medical information. John Doe filed the case on June 17, 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking class action certification for a jury trial to recover compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.

Patient Privacy in the Post Roe Era

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court finally handed down its long-awaited opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. In this decision, the Court set aside nearly 50 years of precedent and unequivocally overruled Roe v. Wade, declaring that there is no Constitutional right to abortion. This decision will unsurprisingly change laws and significantly impact millions of people across the country. Although pro-choice activists have been bracing for this outcome and mobilizing to maintain access to abortions, they have to contend with a consideration that did not exist to the same magnitude the last time that abortion was illegal in the US: anti-abortion laws’ impact on data privacy.

PATCHing Health Technologies: Medical Device Security is the Target in Congress’ Aim

Conversations about the privacy and security of health information systems and patient data are ongoing, and frequently front-page news. But what about healthcare’s “internet of things”? More specifically, the web of wearable or implantable medical devices, and the applications that go along with them, which collect and transmit health information? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with approving medical devices for patient use in a clinical setting, such as pacemakers. These devices require FDA approval and cannot be altered after receiving that approval. Additionally, an upgrade to an approved device could result in the need for an entirely new FDA approval, making device’s security essentially obsolete soon after its deployment. The inability to upgrade device security poses a unique cybersecurity risk. And this risk is one that Congress seems poised to take on.

Biden Administration Works with the EU to Develop New Data-Sharing Agreement

After the EU invalidated the previous data transfer agreement between the EU and the US in July of 2020, many big tech companies have been left unsure how to keep business flowing from Europe without the ability to store data within the US. To the relief of these companies, the Biden Administration has reached a preliminary agreement for a new deal with the EU. Coined the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework, this new agreement works to address concerns raised by the EU.

Critical Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Legislation: America’s Cybersecurity Problem

Long gone are the days when cybersecurity concerns existed solely in the domain of technology teams. Various organizations, from schools to government entities (at every level), to private companies alike have fallen prey to cyberattacks. May 2021’s Colonial Pipeline attack caused chaos and a temporary gas frenzy that brought awareness of the vulnerabilities of the technology we rely on to even the least technically minded American. Cybersecurity, and more specifically, the security of critical infrastructure immediately became an issue that the U.S. Government is taking very seriously.