It cannot be denied that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many novel legal and regulatory issues. One topic of major concern both domestically and abroad is how to manage the massive amounts of consumer data being collected in the attempt to quell the spread of the virus. This issue is especially complicated to address in the United States, where a convoluted patchwork of state and federal laws interact to create a relentlessly fragmented data regulation system. Now, as state and local governments, along with tech giants like Apple and Google, continue to roll out contact tracing applications, the need for comprehensive data privacy regulation is more pressing than ever.
This spring I had the pleasure of attending a conference entitled Digital Platforms: Innovation, Antitrust, Privacy & the Internet of Things hosted by the UIC John Marshall Law School Center for IP, Information & Privacy Law. Throughout the day, panelists spoke about various topics of intellectual property, including artificial intelligence antitrust issues, and more. But for me, the highlight of the afternoon was the session on privacy issues. Here is a bit of what I learned…
New data privacy regulations entail questioning both current and future technologies. Recently, Amazon has introduced a store concept that eliminates everyone’s least favorite things about shopping, long lines and small talk. Amazon Go is the grocery store of the future and these stores allow consumers to walk in, pick up the items that they need, and then walk right back out. That’s it. No long lines, no cashiers, no shopping carts. However, as great as this concept seems, there are still concerns from a data privacy standpoint as Amazon needs to collect personal data from its consumers in order to be able to lawfully execute these checkout-less stores.
On June 28, 2018 California took a page out of the European Union’s (EU) book and signed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) into law. The CCPA is a landmark privacy bill that will come into effect on January 1st, 2020 and it is being closely compared to the General Data Protection Act (GDPR).
What does this mean for California businesses and residents? In short, more privacy and more control over data. Key aspects include allowing consumers to request what data an organization has collected about them, allowing consumers the right to fully erase data, protecting children’s data, and making verification processes more stringent for businesses.
In a world where our reliance on technology and the cloud is increasing exponentially, data security’s growth has stagnated. The European Union (EU) passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in hopes of ensuring that consumer data is protected and not harbored by businesses. The effects of the GDPR, however, have passed the borders of the European Union. In a world where our actions extend internationally with just the click of a button, the GDPR’s impact circles the globe as well. The GDPR has pushed for a shift in data privacy and regulation for companies within and outside of the EU as it holds to protect European citizens, no matter where they are in the world. This international reach has not only created forces to drive U.S. companies to comply, but states within the U.S. are now creating GDPR-inspired laws to protect their own citizens. The GDPR has started a trend that will soon become the norm and finally push compliance to keep up with the exponential growth of technology.
I authored a post last year regarding the nuclear energy industry’s current initiative to reduce operational costs to compete with the ever-dropping cost of energy production. Coined “Delivering the Nuclear Promise,” the initiative aims to enlist cost-cutting initiatives such as reducing staffing and removing superfluous requirements that maintain large margin to regulatory thresholds. Companies have set hefty goals to bring the cost of nuclear energy production down to values that would make nuclear energy competitive against less expensive, highly backed, and not-as-clean, forms of energy. This all needs to be done without sacrificing safety.
In order to achieve these drastic measures, I will set forth the case for on-the-rise technologies, that while the nuclear energy industry does not currently have the infrastructure to support, will aide in this transition, and as I argue, ultimately be required in order to sustain this clean and necessary form of energy.