The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow last week to litigants—both criminal and civil—who have attempted to use the “exceeds authorized access” provision of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA” or “Act”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, to hold former employees, competitors and others accountable for inappropriately utilizing electronic information.  In its 6-3 decision in Van Buren v. United States, the Court resolved a long-standing split on the scope of Section 1030(a)(2), providing a narrow answer to the question of whether an individual “exceeds authorized access” to electronic information in violation of the CFAA if he or she is authorized to access the information but does so for an improper purpose.  The holding will make it more difficult for prosecutors and civil litigants to wield the CFAA in some scenarios where data is misused, but not necessarily stolen.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Slashes CFAA Claims Involving Authorized Access for an Illicit Purpose

Business man on laptopThanks to statutory amendments and regulatory changes, compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) continues to be a moving target. As Vedder Price previously reported, the CCPA, effective January 1, 2020, gave consumers new tools and rights for protecting their data privacy.  In October 2020, the California Attorney General (“AG”) approved the “final” set of regulations interpreting the requirements of the CCPA, discussed here. Then in December 2020, the AG proposed some modifications to the regulations in response to comments about the previous set of proposed CCPA modifications.

Recently, on March 15, 2021, the AG announced that the Office of Administrative Law approved the AG’s proposed changes to the CCPA regulations. These newly approved regulations strengthen the language of the CCPA by making three changes relating to the right to opt out of sales and one change to authorized agent requests. Thus, companies that are focused on CCPA compliance should review these regulations with fresh eyes to make sure they are still compliant.


Continue Reading CCPA Regulations Version 2.0 – Are you STILL compliant?

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) is well known as the toughest privacy and security law in the world, as it has a wide reach and imposes heavy fines against those who violate its privacy and security standards (which are quite broad). The impact of the GDPR has already been felt in the United States since it went into effect in 2018, and now U.S. lawmakers in numerous states are moving to enact similar legislations. The California Consumer Protection Act (“CCPA”) was the first instance of the GDPR’s impact in the United States, as California put in place a statute and regulations that mirrored the GDPR in several respects. Now Virginia has set in motion what could be a year-long string of states enacting similar legislation. In particular, Washington and New York have proposed legislation following the framework of the CCPA. This article will compare the CCPA to the newly enacted and proposed privacy laws in the United States.
Continue Reading GDPR in the USA? New State Legislation Is Making This Closer to Reality

Welcome back to Vedder Price’s BIPA Bellwether series. As with our TCPA Turnstile, we intend for the BIPA Bellwether to serve as a periodic report on latest developments.

Last week, the Southern District of Illinois decided to dismiss the lawsuit in Barton v. Swan Surfaces LLC, No. 20-CV-499-SPM, 2021 WL 793983 (S.D. Ill. Mar. 2, 2021). In doing so, the Southern District joined the U.S. Northern District’s trend of finding claims brought under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), 740 ILCS 14 et seq., to be preempted by the federal Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185, when interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement is required. This growing trend suggests that Illinois federal courts are beginning to rein in the cottage industry among class action attorneys that BIPA has sparked.


Continue Reading BIPA Bellwether: New U.S. Southern District of Illinois Decision Holds Labor Management Relations Act Preempts Employee BIPA Claims

Phone and gavelOne of the few things that hasn’t changed significantly since our last TCPA update is, well, the TCPA. We have a new year, a new President and multiple new COVID vaccines.  And after the December oral argument in Facebook v. Duguid before the Supreme Court, 2021 could be the year when we receive clarity on the critical TCPA question of what constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”).  Indeed, the argument seemed positive for the TCPA defense bar, with Justices Alito and Thomas chafing at the anachronistic nature of the statute and Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch expressing concerns about the idea that every cellphone user could be subject to civil liability.  But for now, the TCPA litigation landscape remains the same bizarre, often inconsistent quagmire that it always has been.  We’ll continue to be your guide through the morass, and we summarize here developments since our last update, listed by issue category in alphabetical order.
Continue Reading TCPA Turnstile: New Year, Same TCPA – For Now (TCPA Case Update Vol. 14)

Business man on laptopLast month, the California Attorney General approved the final set of regulations interpreting the requirements of the California Consumer Privacy Act (Cal. Civ. Code Sections 1798.100 et seq.) (the “CCPA”).

What does it include?

The final CCPA regulations include a number of points of clarification such as what it means to provide “notice at collection,” the methods to provide a consumer with access to a business’s privacy policy and what content is required to be disclosed in that privacy policy, and the methods by which a company must provide consumers with a right to opt out from the sale of their personal information.
Continue Reading What do the final CCPA regulations mean for you?

“Should we do a Zoom?” It has taken little more than a month for the Zoom video conference platform to take its place among the likes of Google, Kleenex and Xerox as brand names synonymous with the product or service being offered. But with that name recognition comes scrutiny, and Zoom is getting plenty. The privacy and security issues associated with Zoom have been well-documented. As a result, Zoom is now facing class action lawsuits from both shareholders and users. And the use of Zoom (and other platforms) can raise ethics issues for lawyers.


Continue Reading Zooming into New Privacy Issues

Smart companies have been worried about data security for years—no one wants to be in the headlines as the next big company to have a breach, the next corporation to face a class action lawsuit or the next business facing federal or state regulatory scrutiny.  It’s only heightened in recent years as companies faced new regulations imposed by the GDPR and the CCPA.  Well, things are not getting any better in 2020—now an increasing number of municipalities are getting in on the act.

San Francisco was the first city to have this awakening in 2017. In response to the Equifax data breach on September 7, 2017, San Francisco filed claims against Equifax under California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL).  A few months later, Los Angeles brought a similar lawsuit against Uber claiming that the company paid hackers to delete stolen data and failed to notify consumers of the breach in violation of the UCL.  But most state statutes do not give cities standing to bring lawsuits.


Continue Reading Parking Tickets, Jaywalking, and Cybersecurity Breaches at Multinational Companies: City ordinances are coming off the streets and into the server room

The California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), as initially passed, was the hastily-drafted alternative to an even more stringent ballot initiative, resulting in a seemingly endless list of open questions about how it would be interpreted and enforced. Since its passage on June 28, 2018, privacy pundits around the nation have opined about the meaning of the first domestic privacy regulation reminiscent of its European cousin, the GDPR.

In response, the California legislature entered its 2019 session considering a whopping 19 possible amendment bills to the CCPA. When the dust settled, seven of those bills were signed into law.


Continue Reading Seven amendments to CCPA answer the statute’s open questions – sort of

GavelOn April 24, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision touching a number of hot button issues and litigation threats facing American businesses — including class actions, arbitration agreements and data privacy.

The case, Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, 17-988, 2019 WL 1780275 (U.S. Apr. 24, 2019), stemmed from a data breach in which a hacker posing as a company official “tricked” a Lamps Plus employee into disclosing the tax information of approximately 1,300 workers.  Among those 1,300 workers was Frank Varela, the named plaintiff.  Id. at *2.  Following the data breach, Mr. Varela became the victim of identity theft when a fraudulent federal income tax return was filed in his name. 
Continue Reading SCOTUS Catapults Class Arbitration Onto the Endangered Species List