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To Comply with State Privacy Laws, Companies Ironically Need More Data



Photo of Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., speaking at a CompTIA privacy event by Adrienne Patton

WASHINGTON, February 12, 2020 – As states draft and pass state-wide privacy laws, company compliance becomes increasingly “untenable,” said Konture Technology Services President Scott Crespo at a privacy event held Wednesday by CompTIA.

Crespo helps companies of varying sizes meet privacy laws, a job that became more complicated when the California Consumer Privacy Act passed in 2018 and became enforceable on January 1, 2020.

Crespo said his clients have been able to maneuver CCPA by adopting a “one size fits all” approach that will soon be impossible if more state standards are passed, said Crespo.

Companies who cannot comply in time might stop providing services to certain states, which occurred when the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation because other countries couldn’t comply in time, said Crespo.

Companies support privacy, but lawmakers must avoid hindering innovation and new players in the industry by setting an impossible compliance bar, said Crespo.

Crespo noted the irony in laws like CCPA. Because businesses want to comply with CCPA, this requires they collect more information about consumers to confirm their place of residence, said Crespo.

California residents remain protected under CCPA even while travelling, making privacy practice even more difficult for companies because they must know where users permanently live, said Crespo.

State legislation moves a lot quicker than federal legislation, said CompTIA State Government Affairs Vice President Alexi Madon. “A lot of people want to pass bills now,” said Madon.

Any company that acquires data is affected by private right of actions, not just the technology sector, explained Madon.

Madon said bills generally have three parts: definitions, access provisions, enforcement. State privacy bills look very different, a dilemma that Crespo noted will lead to companies putting up “digital borders.”

Representatives Cardenas and McMorris Rodgers acknowledged the urgent need for a national privacy law

Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-California, expressed concern over his home state’s CCPA because it was not a finished product when it reached the governor’s desk.

Cardenas said he favors an “opt in model,” so consumers can choose the privacy they deem fit. Cardenas hopes to pass a bipartisan privacy law that still grants states some leeway.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, said the committee hopes to pass a federal privacy law this year.

GDPR created huge barriers for industry newcomers, and Congress must pass a bill that “protects consumers without stifling innovation,” said McMorris Rodgers.

McMorris Rodgers urged the audience to increase awareness surrounding the privacy issue because as excitement dwindles, McMorris Rodgers feels less optimistic a bill can get passed soon.

When asked what she thinks about the privacy bill the Washington State legislature is debating, McMorris Rodgers said, it makes her “more convinced” that a national model is essential.

CompTIA Senior Policy Counsel Dileep Srihari said it was “refreshing” that the congress members were concerned about their respective state’s privacy initiatives.

Srihari was concerned about the “hidden cost to innovation” that privacy regulations can pose if not carefully constructed. Numerous companies will emerge with 5G, just like Uber emerged with 4G, said Srihari. He worries that new innovations will be “stillborn” under overpowering privacy laws.

Adrienne Patton was a Reporter for Broadband Breakfast. She studied English rhetoric and writing at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She grew up in a household of journalists in South Florida. Her father, the late Robes Patton, was a sports writer for the Sun-Sentinel who covered the Miami Heat, and is for whom the press lounge in the American Airlines Arena is named.


Lawmakers, FCC Take More Action Against Illegal Robocallers

There are new proposed rules that offer legal protections to those aiding in enforcement efforts against illegal robocalls.



Rep. Bob Latta, the primary sponsor of the Robocall Trace Back Enhancement Act

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2022 – Regulators and legislators in Washington continued their efforts to curb unlawful telephony use with proposed rules designed to crack down robocalls.

On Wednesday, Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, introduced the Robocall Trace Back Enhancement Act – an amendment to the Pallone-Thune Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act.

If signed into law, the bill would provide legal immunity for a broad range of entities engaging in private efforts to track, surveil, and report on illegal robocalling scams.

The protected parties include registered consortiums that handle call receiving, sharing, and publishing and all voice service providers and any informants that share covered information.

It would also grant the Federal Communications Commission jurisdiction to take enforcement actions based on the information collected during the aforementioned activities.

FCC measures on cease-and-desist letters

In addition to this legislation, as part of her agenda to combat scam calls, on April 26 FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel proposed closing a loophole to the STIR/SHAKEN regime afforded to small telcos.

Most telcos are required to adhere to cease-and-desist orders regarding illegal spam-calls and generally comply with actions taken by the FCC. The loophole in question gave smaller telcos greater latitude in how they chose to respond to FCC requests.

If adopted, the proposed regulation would require small telcos to abide by cease-and-desist orders, participate in robocall mitigation, cooperate with FCC enforcement, and take responsibility for facilitating illegal robocall traffic.

“International robocallers use these gateways to enter our phone networks and defraud American consumers,” Rosenworcel said in a statement, “We won’t allow them to bypass our laws and hide from enforcement.”

The new rule will be voted on at the FCC’s open meeting on May 19.

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Federal Privacy Legislation Needed As State Legislation Could Harm Smaller Players, Event Hears

Different state privacy laws stifle competition and places burdens on small companies, experts say.



Maneesha Mithal (far-left), Sara Collins (middle-left), Lartease Tiffith (middle-right), Brandon Pugh (far-right) on stage at "Beyond the Basics: The Many Pillars of a U.S. Privacy Law"

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2022 – While experts agreed that federal legislators need to take action on comprehensive privacy legislation, they disagreed on the specifics of how such regulation should be enforced.

Though some states have begun to establish their own frameworks for consumer privacy regulation, each framework puts forth different standards that online platforms would have to adhere to. These varied frameworks have raised concerns among many experts who consider a patchwork of legislation to raise the bar of compliance – a bar that could be lowered by federal legislation.

During an R Street panel on Monday, experts from the technology industry weighed in on the matter with their perspectives.

In March, Utah joined  California, Colorado, and Virginia and became the fourth state to successfully pass consumer privacy legislation. Several additional states, including Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut have experienced mixed success with their bills and have not yet signed anything into law.

Lartease Tiffith, executive vice president for public policy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said that the US is an outlier among developed countries. “We are one of the few developed countries that [does not have a federal privacy law],” he said. “I think that in order to reflect the same common values as our colleagues who are in Europe and elsewhere around the world, we need [to make] one.”

Beyond the international perspective, Tiffith also emphasized domestic justifications for federal legislation. “I cannot think of a subject matter that is not more under the purview of Congress than interstate commerce,” he said. “The internet is everywhere – it is not limited by borders. So, we need to have one standard, one set of laws. It should not matter where you live – California, Utah, Virginia, Colorado – you should have the same basic privacy rights as anyone, anywhere.”

Various state legislation harder for smaller companies

Tiffith also explained that a patchwork of regulation would hit smaller businesses the hardest. “If you are a small or medium sized business and you are looking at investing more money into your products and service and delivering and reaching customers – you want to do that rather than spending time on hiring more lawyers to deal with ever complicating regulations.

“We need this for the next set of Amazons and Googles of the world to exists,” he said.

While the panelists were able to agree on the fact that current patchwork of laws is not sustainable, they did not agree on how to enforce a federal framework.

A federal body for consumer data protection

Sara Collins, senior policy counsel for internet advocacy group Public Knowledge, voiced benefits to creating a new data protection authority in the US – a body distinct from the Federal Trade Commission – that would focus expressly on matters related to consumer data protection.

Tiffith pushed back, however, arguing that the FTC already does a good job at handling these issues, and is only held back by what he views as under-resourcing. “If you compare the FTC to other protection authorities, they are very under-resourced,” he said. “So, I think instead of us standing up a whole new data protection authority, I think instead, let’s invest that money in the FTC, give them some rules, some limited rulemaking authority, and let’s give them a lot more staff and a lot more money.

“Let them be the cop on the beat,” he said.

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FCC Announces Majority of States Now Signed Onto Robocall Investigation Partnership

The FCC signed on five states this month and seven last month.



Illustration from C-Zentrix

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission said Thursday it has partnered with further five more state attorneys general to combat illegal robocalls.

The agency said Thursday it had signed on Alaska, California, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Washington state to investigate the robocalls, which can lead to scams. Thursday’s news comes on the heels of a March 28 announcement, when the agency said it signed similar memorandum of understanding with Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Wyoming.

Altogether, the agency, which announced the federal-state partnership effort in February, said it has signed on the majority of the United States.

“It shows that we are united when it comes to fighting robocalls—urban, rural, north, south, east, and west,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Today I invite every state and U.S. territory to join this effort and establish information sharing and cooperation structures with the FCC so we can work together to investigate and put an end to spoofing and robocall scam campaigns.”

The agency, which has made fighting illegal robocalls a key mandate, has previously credited states with catching those that allow robocalls.

Earlier this month, the FCC credited the North Carolina Department of Justice in an investigation that identified thinQ Technologies as a “facilitator” of robocalls. The agency, which is working with the Traceback Consortium to identify the culprits, has already sent more than a dozen cease and desist letters to those it has identified in investigations.

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