On October 10, 2011, Governor Brown signed into law a bill, AB22, that restricts the use of consumer credit reports in the hiring and promotion process.
On July 20, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee's Trade Subcommittee approved the Secure and Fortify Electronic Data Act (the "SAFE Data Act"). The Act would require any business that maintains personal information to implement an information security program and notify affected individuals in the event of an information security breach. The SAFE Data Act would preempt the over 45 existing state information security and breach notification laws and task the Federal Trade Commission with developing information security rules implementing the Act.
On March 18, 2011, the Oklahoma State House passed the Electric Utility Data Protection Act (House Bill 1079). The state's Senate will consider the bill next.The Act seeks to establish standards to govern the use and disclosure of electric utility usage data (including personal information) by electric utilities, customers of electric utilities and third parties. The Act also requires electric utility companies to maintain the confidentiality of customer data and allow customers to access the data. State Rep. Scott Martin noted that customers will see energy savings from the Smart Grid, but are vulnerable to potential access of their data by third parties. "This legislation should ensure customers can reap the many benefits of this new system without having to fear someone getting access to their data without permission," said Martin. The legislation is said to have the support of the Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company, which has already converted 100,000 standard meters to smart meters in the state and plans to install 800,000 smart meters in the next two years.
During the final week of October and beginning of November, I attended two privacy events that were set far apart geographically and philosophically: the Data Protection Commissioners Conference in Jerusalem and the ad:tech conference in New York City. The Jerusalem event had a decidedly pro-privacy flavor, while at ad:tech businesses showcased myriad ways for monetizing personal information. Both conferences posed interesting questions about the future of privacy, but as a privacy lawyer I was more interested in learning and observing than engaging in the privacy debates. The events' apparently divergent privacy narratives made me ponder where a privacy lawyer may fit on the privacy continuum between these two great cities.