As 2022 comes to a close, we wanted to look back at the most significant Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (“TCPA”) decisions of the year. While we didn’t see the types of landscape-altering decisions that we saw in 2021, there’s still plenty to take note of. We summarize here the biggest developments since our last update, listed by issue category in alphabetical order.
Much ink has been spilled over the Executive Order Enhancing Safeguards for United States Signals Intelligence Activities (the “Executive Order”) signed by President Biden in early October. The Executive Order is supposed to establish the United States’ commitments reflected in the March 25, 2022 joint EU-U.S. announcement of the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework (the “Framework”). While the Framework is described as an “agreement in principle” to facilitate cross-border transfer of personal data, the Executive Order is supposed to go further, toward actually implementing the promised protective measures. But does it?
In a landmark decision, a Chicago federal jury found that BNSF Railway Co. (“BNSF”) violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA” or the “Act” (740 ILCS 14/1 et seq.) resulting in a judgment of $228 million against BNSF. The speed in which the jury delivered its verdict, and the scope of the damages calculated by the Court, should give pause to any employer or entity facing BIPA claims.
A recent criminal verdict against a former Uber executive highlights the serious potential risks associated with concealing data breaches and using “bug bounty” programs as a means to hide hacking by threat actors. In early October, former Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan was convicted of federal charges by unanimous verdict after four days of deliberation. The charges stemmed from payments Sullivan authorized to two hackers who breached the company’s data in 2016. This conviction came as a surprise to many security professionals. Many anticipated his acquittal because Sullivan had kept Uber’s CEO and others who were not charged informed of his actions. However, highlighting the insufficiency of this approach, Sullivan was found guilty of obstructing justice for failing to inform the Federal Trade Commission of the breach and of actively hiding a felony.
The UK government’s reform of data protection laws and the mechanics of cross-border data transfers has accelerated in the first half of 2022.
Various European regulators, including the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have expressed an intent to more closely monitor compliance with the data transfer rules and impose potentially significant fines where breaches are uncovered – capped in the UK at the higher of £17m or 4% of group worldwide turnover. US recipients of personal data gathered in the UK (whether from a group subsidiary or otherwise) should act now to assess their current compliance and plug any gaps.
In order for personal data gathered in the UK to be transferred, in a compliant manner, to the US a number of steps must be taken:
Is the right to compel arbitration waived only when the plaintiff can show prejudice from the defendant’s inconsistent actions and delay? In Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., No. 21-328 (2022), the Supreme Court found that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not permit courts to create tests to favor arbitration over litigation, and that a showing of prejudice is not required for a claim of waiver.
Public companies may soon have another regulation to worry about when it comes to their cybersecurity regime. Last week, citing the increase in cybersecurity incidents and the need for investors to be informed about cybersecurity risks in a timely matter, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed amendments to its rules that demand more of registrants when it comes to cybersecurity disclosures.
On February 9, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) issued proposed rules 206(4)-9 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (Advisers Act) and 38a-2 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (Investment Company Act) (such rules collectively referred to as the ‘cybersecurity risk management rules’), to require investment advisers registered under the Advisers Act (advisers) and registered investment companies under the Investment Company Act (funds) to adopt and implement significant new written cybersecurity policies and procedures. At a high level, the proposed rules would require annual reviews, add new disclosure requirements, and add new SEC and investor reporting requirements, among other requirements. Continue Reading SEC Proposes New Cybersecurity Rules for Investment Advisers and Investment Companies
In yet another blow to employers facing claims under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA” or the “Act”) (740 ILCS 14/1 et seq.), the Illinois Supreme Court held that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act (“IWCA”) (820 ILCS 305/1 et seq.) does not preempt BIPA claims for statutory damages brought by employees. The Court’s holding in McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park, LLC, et al. awas not unexpected by most BIPA practitioners, and will likely trigger the resumption of many dozens of BIPA workplace lawsuits which were stayed while the Illinois justices considered the case. Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Eliminates Another BIPA Defense
One of the best ways for companies facing media and privacy risk to protect themselves from expensive class action litigation is by including an arbitration provision in the applicable terms and conditions. While it’s not always clear at the outset of litigation whether the plaintiff agreed to the terms, companies often have to invoke arbitration quickly out of fear that they will be found to have waived arbitration. But in its coming term, the U.S. Supreme Court is now poised to address the critical point of whether prejudice to the plaintiff is a necessary element for a finding of waiver. Continue Reading Supreme Court to address role of “prejudice” in evaluating waiver of arbitrability