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Privacy Insider newsletter - Jan. 19

  • by Angelique Carson
  • last updated January 19, 2021
  • 5 min read
Privacy Insider newsletter - Jan. 19

Washington, D.C. and capitals across the U.S. are bracing this week for what could be a dangerous and chaotic day. The moving trucks have arrived to usher President Donald Trump out of the White House as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to move in. While generally there's celebration and fanfare when a new president takes office, this transfer of power is tainted by threats of growing violence by extremists after a mob attacked the Capitol earlier this month. 

While the transition has a nation on edge, the privacy community has reason to look ahead to brighter days, many say. In this week's Privacy Insider, for example, privacy attorney Kirk Nahra repeats a refrain spoken by many once it was clear Biden would win the presidency: This could be a game-changer for U.S. privacy legislation. 

As noted in past Privacy Insiders, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has a solid track record on privacy-forward initiatives, and Biden will likely be incentivized to take action because of increasing pressure to repair a fractured system between the EU and the U.S. on cross-border data transfers. For his part, Nahra predicts a federal privacy bill to be passed in U.S. Congress within Biden's first four-year term. 

But in the interim, much to many organizations' chagrin, states continue to take action on their own. Often referred to as "the laboratories of democracy," the states can move more nimbly than the federal government, crafting rules that satisfy the needs of their local constituencies and don't impede on local businesses' abilities to compete in the marketplace by imposing stringent restrictions and unfair fines. 

The most obvious example of this, of course, is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Though it was, well, ripped to shreds during the rulemaking process after it was a signed deal in 2018, it emerged as the new golden standard in the U.S. Some businesses decided to simply allow all of their data subjects the same rights as Californians rather than create complicated data sets and processes. Now, we see other states creating laws that look very similar to the CCPA. Why not basically copy the text that successfully made it through to the governor's desk? 

This week's Insider includes a story on the latest state to introduce such legislation: Minnesota. Keep your eyes on legislative movement there, remembering that Washington State and New York are in the throws of pushing their own CCPA-like legislation through their own Congressional hearings. 

If states start to pass legislation one after the other in the early half of 2021, it will likely only add pressure on the Biden administration to remedy what many call the dreaded "patchwork" of privacy laws from state to state, an expensive and messy operation for organizations aiming to comply. 

Enjoy reading, and we'll see you next week! 

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Here are the top stories you might have missed:

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About The Author · Angelique Carson

Angelique Carson is the Director of Content at Osano, a B-corp privacy platform that makes compliance with privacy laws easy for companies of all sizes. She is a professional writer and editor who has worked in journalism and publishing for more than ten years. Previously Angelique was an editor at the International Association of Privacy Professionals and the host of The Privacy Advisor Podcast. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her puppy Miles.