Since the start of 2021, cyber-attacks have dominated headlines across every industry. From governments and government organizations, healthcare companies, and banks, to gaming companies and oil pipelines, ransomware has impacted organizations of all types and sizes. The scale and scope of these attacks have continued to grow and have far reaching consequences. Despite current agency attempts to strengthen cybersecurity through regulation, individual users continue to pose a serious threat due to insufficient security education.
There’s no doubt that remote work, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, will accelerate the digital revolution already underway. Consumers’ growing appetite to conduct their business online, rather than in-person, has fueled the proliferation of digitally accessible products and services. For instance, movie theaters have closed their doors while content streaming services have experienced exponential growth. And while the restaurant industry, as a whole, has suffered, ‘virtual’ kitchens and grocery delivery apps have picked up steam. A critical question that arises from these trends is “what can be done to eliminate biases in the algorithms that drive these digital transactions?”
In 1993, and on the heels of the landmark Article III standing case of Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, John G. Roberts, Jr. wrote a law review article entitled: “Article III Limits on Statutory Standing.” Twenty-eight years later and now the Chief Justice, Roberts again found himself wrestling over the bounds of the Article III Standing requirement as he presided over this issue in the class action context. Years after the Court decided Spokeo v. Robins in 2016 and Clapper v. Amnesty International in 2013, the Court revisited the matter and listened to oral arguments on March 30, 2021, in TransUnion v. Ramirez. The decision may have enormous consequences. While Acting U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar filed a “friend of the court” brief agreeing that standing exists, other briefs supporting TransUnion suggest that meritless class action lawsuits against corporate defendants from class members that aren’t injured will exponentially increase.
Lydia Bayley Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2022 While the COVID-19 pandemic undeniably pushed many legislative agendas to the backburner, some seem to be heating back up. With the 117th Congress now in session, data privacy is once again moving to the forefront of federal legislative debate. For decades, the United States has …
On July 16, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) issued its deafening decision that summarily and immediately invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield. The regulatory program established between the European Council and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce allowed for the transfer of personal data of EU residents to be sent from the EU to the US without violating the data transfer restrictions of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). The decision went on to cast serious doubt on the sufficiency of standard contractual clauses to adequately protect data transferred to any third country, not just the US. Several months later, data exporters in the EU are still sorting through the wreckage of their privacy programs and waiting for practical advice on the way forward.
On December 12, 2020, the European Commission (the “EC”) issued a highly anticipated draft of newly revised standard contractual clauses (“new SCCs”) that may be used by European Union-based companies to safeguard data transfers of personal data to third countries, such as the US, in compliance with GDPR Art. 46(1). The release comes at a decidedly inopportune time as it follows on the heels of the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland Limited and Maximillian Schrems (“Schrems II”) decision which casts serious doubt on the adequacy of SCCs alone to safeguard against the “high-risks” involved in EU to US data transfers. And for many data protection experts, the language of the revised SCCs only adds to the confusion, raising even more questions. But one question in particular seems to be prominent among others—for transfers to importers, directly subject to GDPR, are SCCs really necessary?
Advanced data driven infrastructure is now essential for sports entities to remain competitive, yet few structures are in place to manage the risks inherent in the collection of this sometimes, highly personal information. Data is utilized for virtually every aspect involved in the game, including; to enhance player performance, improve player health, deepen fan engagement, and increase betting predictions. These developments do not come about without risks to the rights of those who the data is extracted from.
President Joe Biden has issued a number of Executive Orders, many of which address the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. On January 21, 2021, President Biden released another pillar of his Administration’s long-term plan to direct the United States out of the throes of the pandemic. The twelfth Executive Order titled, “Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19 and Future High-Consequence Public Health Threats” orders the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Secretary Alex Azar to conduct a nationwide review of the interoperability of public health data systems in an effort to enhance the collection, sharing, analysis, and collaboration of de-identified patient data.
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.
Complex litigation in data breach disputes is not surprising due to the reliance on information technology infrastructure. The Identity Theft Resource Center defines a data breach as “an incident in which an individual name plus a Social Security number, driver’s license number, medical record or financial record is potentially put at risk because of exposure.” However, the issue that challenges most plaintiffs’ in a data breach lawsuit is the ability to establish an injury-in-fact sufficient to support Article III standing. Injury-in-fact is harm that is concrete and particularized, and actual or imminent. Currently, the United States Court of Appeals fails to uniformly decide this issue, creating “splits” in the Circuits regarding Article III standing in data breach litigation. The Supreme Court ruled in fact-distinguishable cases concerning standing, but not in the data breach litigation context. Until the Supreme Court renders guidance, Americans face significant judicial patchwork in privacy protection.