As we have previously reported on our blog, 2011 has seen a whirlwind of privacy enforcement activity. The FTC, NLRB, EEOC, HHS and FINRA have all taken privacy enforcement actions this year. This March, the FTC has announced privacy settlements with Chitika and Twitter.
Many of you probably read earlier this month that California's Office of Administrative Law approved the California Department of Insurance's proposal to repeal certain privacy regulations. The California changes actually have greater significance than may be apparent on a quick glance. Although rarely noted in the media coverage, State insurance privacy regulations across the country (not just in California) find their roots in the federal Gramm Leach Bliley Act, so California's decision to make such changes provides a helpful illustration of the extraordinarily complex and confusing web of privacy regulation that governs even small organizations in this country. Also, California's move with respect to these changes contravenes the conventional wisdom that California is a renegade pro-consumer state when it comes to privacy regulation. Many of our followers have asked me to break down this newest California development, so here goes.
In early May, Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) introduced a long anticipated "discussion draft" of a bill "[t]o require notice to and consent of an individual prior to the collection and disclosure of certain personal information relating to that individual." You have probably heard that industry and consumer groups alike are not happy with the discussion draft. What exactly is the Boucher Bill and what would it mean for almost every company engaged in the collection, use or disclosure of personal information (not just companies engaged in online behavioral advertising)? Following is a FAQ. Comments on the draft legislation are due June 4 (mark your calendars).
Today's New York Times Media Decoder Blog features an "on-the-record" discussion with Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz and Bureau of Consumer Protection chief David Vladeck. The question presented: "Has Internet Gone Beyond Privacy Policies?" The FTC (and Congress, for that matter) continue to signal that change may be imminent in the world of online privacy policies and traditional notions of opt-out consent.