Category Archives: State Governments

Autonomous Vehicles: Job Killer?

According to the 2014 Census data, more than 4.4 million Americans work as drivers. Will autonomous vehicles kill most of these driver required jobs? With the growth and advancement in autonomous vehicle technologies, many Americans are in danger of losing their job or taking significant cuts in their income because a new and convenient technology is taking their place. Autonomous vehicles are expected to reduce labor cost, fuel cost and accidents. The potential savings will outweigh the human cost, especially as companies fight for profit margins. While companies plot to save money in the future through using this new tech …

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Autonomous Vehicles: A Regulatory Perspective

The coming innovation of autonomous vehicles (i.e. self-driving cars) has been covered pretty widely in the news over the past 18-24 months.  Not long ago, the reality of autonomous vehicles was unknown to most Americans.  But it is now creeping into the consciousness of more and more Americans.  As the certainty of this new technology approaches, it is becoming clearer that it will cause massive disruption in an area of American life that is intensely regulated at every level.  If you think about it, the manufacture, distribution, sale, ownership, and operation of cars are all regulated by federal, state and …

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Cyber Security and Social Engineering: A Big Low Tech Problem

Headline-grabbing cyber hacks of email accounts belonging to celebrities, corporations, government officials and political campaigns are becoming the norm.  Cybersecurity intended to guard against these acts brings to mind high tech computer hardware and software fixes delivered by knowledgeable IT professionals, who are expected to prevent network intrusions, stolen passwords, viruses, ransomware attacks and other hacks. But the most recent notable cyber hacks were not caused by high tech espionage.  Rather, they were the product of low tech social engineering – the use of deception to manipulate users into divulging confidential passwords and other personal information.  This kind of hack …

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Legal Considerations for Website Privacy Policies

You finally created your website. Did you include eye-catching graphics? Check. Did you include an attention-grabbing banner slogan? Did you post all of your social media handles? Did you include a privacy policy for the website? Maybe… We get questions from clients about whether they are required to include a privacy policy and, if so, what should it say.  The answers may surprise you, but a privacy policy should definitely not be an afterthought for website owners.  It certainly isn’t a best practice to simply copy and paste the privacy policy of another’s company’s website.  The representations made in website …

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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – Be Smart

At the dawn of portable electronic devices, they were primarily work-related productivity tools.  Often, employers would purchase (or lease) devices and distribute them to their need-to-have employee base.  It’s not so long ago that we can remember when the Blackberry transitioned from a business device to a consumer device.  Everybody wanted a Blackberry (weren’t those the days for RIM?) and free email providers like Yahoo and Gmail offered accessibility of their email content through the Blackberry. Then, mobile devices got smart.  They became phones and productivity tools and the footprint shrunk from two devices to one.  One smart device that …

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Apple’s DOJ Battle Scratches the Surface of Encryption Debate

By now you are likely aware of Apple’s ongoing battle with the Justice Department over the scope of the All Writs Act and its resistance of a federal court’s order compelling Apple to create special software that would unlock the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the assailants in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. If you haven’t kept up with the story, an excellent walk through of where things stand may be found here. Apple’s case is generating a great deal of public debate over the amount of privacy a person may come to expect when …

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Clearing Up Confusion Over the Modified HIPAA Privacy Rule

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which will go into effect on February 5, 2016. HHS published the final rule in tandem with President Obama’s recently announced executive actions to reduce gun violence. The final rule expressly permits certain covered entities under HIPAA to disclose limited demographic and other information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), or to an entity that is designated by the State to report to the NICS (or which collects information for this reporting). The covered entities are …

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When it Comes to Privacy Laws, California Leads the Way

California is, by far, the king of states when it comes to privacy laws. California’s constitution is one of only 10 state constitutions that contain an explicit “right to privacy,” recognizing each citizen’s “inalienable right” to privacy. Its state laws in many areas have often been precursors to federal legislation or national legislative movements, and that’s certainly true in privacy law as well. For example, California had health privacy laws before HIPAA even existed, and it had the nation’s first data breach notification law, which spawned copycat legislation in almost every state. Last month, California passed a few more laws …

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The ABCs of COPPA Compliance

In today’s environment – when data breaches seem to be in the news nearly every day – the media, regulators and many others are hyper-focused on privacy issues. Schools and educational institutions are no exception when it comes to news stories highlighting privacy-related goofs or failures. In K-12 institutions, where privacy infrastructure is often lacking or even non-existent, privacy concerns are especially acute. There is little doubt that Internet and online technologies used inside and outside of classrooms have changed how our children learn. There is a federal privacy law – The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act – that …

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Is a Uniform Federal Data Breach Law Really Necessary?

In June 2015, the United States Office of Personnel Management announced a massive data breach. Estimates are that the breach compromises the personal information of up to 18 million current, former and potential federal employees. This data breach joined the growing list of mega breaches that has many calling for a single, federal, uniform data breach notification law, to replace and preempt the current so-called “patchwork” of state laws that exist in all but a handful of states. On July 7, 2015, the Attorneys General of 47 states and US territories joined together in a letter to congressional leaders opposing …

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