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Datapocalypse Now: Will The CCPA Cancel Digital Advertising?

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When people talk about data privacy, or data collection, or tracking technology, or analytics, or click farms, or bots, or data brokers, or geolocation, or mobile apps, or social media, or influencers, in the end what they’re really talking about is digital advertising. Yet while we may feel comfortable using the phrase to broadly describe any online marketing efforts, the purpose of digital advertising is quite different from the goal of a 30 second radio spot, and shares little with its Mad Men-era ancestors beyond the name.

But today, faced with a variety of new laws and regulations designed to protect consumer privacy, lawyers and their clients are obliged to take a much deeper and more nuanced dive into modern methods of digital advertising. And many are surprised at what they find.

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The FTC’s Approach to Consumer Privacy

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As part of the FTC’s Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century, the Commission will hold a two-day hearing on April 9–10 at the Constitution Center (400 7th Street SW in Washington D.C.). The FTC has received 40 comments already and will continue receiving comments until May 31, 2019.

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Thoughts on GLB Safeguards Rule and Privacy Rule? FTC Awaits Your Comments

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) seeking comment on proposed amendments to the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA) Safeguards Rule and Privacy Rule. The comments are due 60 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register. The NPRMs accomplish two things. First, they address comments received several years ago when the FTC sought review of these rules pursuant to its periodic review of FTC rules and guides. Second, it proposes to amend both rules and seeks comments on those amendments.

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FTC Settlement with Video Social Networking App Largest Civil Penalty in a Children’s Privacy Case

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement with Musical.ly, a Cayman Islands corporation with its principal place of business in Shanghai, China, resolving allegations that the defendants violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.

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GAO Report Recommends Congress Consider Comprehensive Privacy Regulation

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The GAO recently concluded a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. federal regulatory landscape with respect to internet privacy, specifically focusing on FTC and FCC enforcement actions and authorities. GAO interviewed representatives from industry, consumer advocacy groups, academia, FTC and FCC staff, former FTC and FCC commissioners, and officials from other agencies. (See page 40 of the GAO report for a complete list of those interviewed.) GAO recommends that Congress consider developing comprehensive legislation on internet privacy that would enhance existing consumer protections and provide flexibility to address a rapidly evolving privacy environment.

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New Washington State Privacy Bill Incorporates Some GDPR Concepts

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A new bill, titled the “Washington Privacy Act,” was introduced in the Washington State Senate on January 18, 2019. If enacted, Washington would follow California to become the second state to adopt a comprehensive privacy law.

Similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the Washington bill applies to entities that conduct business in the state or produce products or services that are intentionally targeted to residents of Washington and includes similar, though not identical size triggers. For example, it would apply to businesses that 1) control or process data of 100,000 or more consumers; or 2) derive 50 percent or more of gross revenue from the sale of personal information, and process or control personal information of 25,000 or more consumers. The bill would not apply to certain data sets regulated by some federal laws, or employment records and would not apply to state or local governments.

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