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Second Circuit Holds That Blocking Users’ Access To Presidential Twitter Account Violates First Amendment

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On July 9, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from blocking social media users from accessing the Twitter account @realDonaldTrump.  See Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University v. Trump, — F.3d –, 2019 WL 2932440 (2d Cir. July 9, 2019).

The Court noted that President Trump “concedes that he blocked the Individual Plaintiffs because they posted tweets that criticized him or his policies,” and “that such criticism is protected speech.”  However, the government contended that when the President took that action “he was exercising control over a private, personal account,” the character of which had not changed since it had been opened as a social media platform in 2009 to share opinions on popular culture, world affairs, and politics.  The government further argued that the Twitter account is not a public forum or, in the alternative, if the Court were to find that the account was a public forum, that blocking the individual plaintiffs “did not prevent them from accessing the forum.”

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Coming Soon to Singapore: Mandatory Data Breach Notifications

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Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) issued a statement on March 1 announcing its plan to introduce mandatory breach notifications as part of a set of proposed amendments to the country’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). The proposed amendments come in response to the PDPC’s recent review of the PDPA in order “to ensure that it keeps pace with the evolving needs of businesses and individuals, and balances safeguarding individuals’ interests and enables the legitimate use of personal data by organisations.” The details of the mandatory breach notification have not yet been made public, but the amendment will likely require organizations to notify the PDPC and affected data subjects when a certain level of breach has occurred.

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New Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence

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On February 11, 2019, President Trump signed an Executive Order on “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence.”  The Executive Order (EO) recognizes that the United States is the world leader in AI research and development (R&D) and deployment,” and that “[c]ontinued American leadership in AI is of paramount importance. . . .”

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N.Y. Attorney General Enforces Mobile App Security Initiative, Announces Settlements with Five Companies

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In December 2018, the New York Attorney General’s Office announced settlements with five companies operating mobile apps, including Equifax and Western Union. The N.Y. Attorney General stated that the companies failed to keep sensitive information secure on their mobile apps and have agreed to implement improved security controls. The settlements came following a data privacy initiative by the Attorney General’s Office to proactively identify security vulnerabilities before consumer information is breached. As part of this effort, the Attorney General’s Office tested dozens of mobile apps that collect sensitive information.

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California Attorney General’s Office Gathers Public Opinions Regarding the Implementation of the California Consumer Privacy Act

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The California Department of Justice has opened up public forums this month as part of the Attorney General’s rulemaking process to promulgate regulations under the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). We previously discussed the Attorney General’s Office’s public statement regarding the CCPA here.

As required by the CCPA, the Attorney General must adopt certain regulations on or before July 1, 2020. In holding these public forums, the Attorney General’s Office hopes to provide an initial opportunity for the public to participate in establishing procedures to facilitate consumers’ rights under the CCPA and to provide guidance for business compliance. Specifically, the following aspects are of high priority: businesses’ obligation to disclose data collection and sharing practices to consumers; consumer rights to request deletion of data; consumer rights to opt out of having their personal information sold to third parties; and restrictions on the sale of personal information of consumers under the age of 16 without explicit consent. The Attorney General’s Office scheduled six public forums across different counties in California and invites in-person attendance or written submissions of public comments through February 2019.

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New Report Signals Further Changes to U.S. Policy toward IoT Technology from China

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In recent months, a series of U.S. government reports have documented U.S. policymakers’ growing concerns over Chinese government policies and programs designed to advance China’s competitive edge in a range of technologies and industries.  In turn, the findings of these reports are shaping U.S. economic and national security laws and policies, as illustrated by the recent Section 301 tariff actions, national security reviews of investment by Chinese firms under the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) process, and provisions of the recently-passed John McCain National Defense Authorization Act that restrict exports of “emerging and foundational technologies” and U.S. government use of certain Chinese-made telecommunications equipment.  Against this background, a report released on October 26, 2018, is likely to further increase U.S. government scrutiny of China-manufactured devices with internet connectivity features – so-called “Internet of Things” or “IoT” devices.

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