The Washington Privacy Act (WPA) gained significant traction in the legislature in 2019, passing the state Senate almost unanimously, but ultimately failing in the state House of Representatives due to discussions around facial recognition and compliance challenges. State Senator Reuven Carlyle has now released a revised draft of the WPA for 2020. If enacted as drafted, this new version of the WPA would come into effect on 31 July 2021.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, has announced the members of the Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States. The task force, an advisory body to the FCC, will investigate the current state of broadband access in agricultural areas and recommend policies and regulatory solutions to the FCC to promote broadband deployment and precision agriculture.
The Department of Defence (DoD) has announced a plan to pilot 5G technologies on four military installations in partnership with private industry and the Federal Communications Commission. The project has been heralded as an opportunity for the DoD to work with industry and collaborate across federal agencies to advance the Trump administration's policy of maintaining the United States' global leadership in 5G.
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed the Consumer Call Protection Act 2019 to address the rise in deceptive robocalls and protect consumers from fraudulent calls. The act requires telecoms service providers to implement secure telephony identity revisited (STIR) and secure handling of asserted information using tokens (SHAKEN) protocols by 1 January 2021 and is the latest in a series of ongoing efforts to promote STIR/SHAKEN or similar call authentication frameworks.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law a pair of bills establishing new requirements for businesses that process certain personal information relating to New York residents. The changes include expanding the scope of information covered by New York's data breach notification law. Businesses maintaining the private information of New York residents will now be required to develop reasonable safeguards within their organisation as part of a new reasonable security requirement.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a new guidance memorandum entitled "Evaluating a Business Organisation's Inability to Pay a Criminal Fine or Criminal Monetary Penalty". This memorandum aims to provide greater clarity, transparency and uniformity as to how the DOJ's Criminal Division evaluates companies' claims that they cannot pay a proposed criminal fine or monetary penalty.
A court has expressed concern with the government's "routine outsourcing" of investigations to the targets of those investigations seeking cooperation credit. The court noted the corporate target's "uniquely coercive position" over its employees, who may also be potential targets of the investigation. The decision may profoundly affect the structure and scope of cooperation agreements between the government and the corporate targets of criminal investigations.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently confirmed the importance of implementing a robust compliance programme that is not only well designed, but also adaptable and able to function effectively. The DOJ's latest guidance makes clear that companies have a strong incentive to maintain an effective compliance programme. Most importantly, these programmes must be fully implemented, account for the structure and scope of a company's business and actually operate effectively.
Throughout 2018 the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued to ring the clarion call for cooperation and sought to provide some certainty, consistency and coordination regarding the incentives offered to companies that provide voluntary disclosures. In particular, the DOJ centralised its guidance memoranda into what is now known as the Justice Manual. The DOJ's goals were to identify redundancies, clarify ambiguities, eliminate surplus language and update the manual to reflect current law and practice.
Government attorneys now have additional discretion in False Claims Act civil cases to award cooperation credit to a corporation that meaningfully assists the investigation without necessarily identifying every individual person outside of senior management involved in the alleged misconduct. The new policy reflects the reality of modern corporate investigations and encourages realistic cooperation efforts without compromising the Department of Justice's policy of holding individuals accountable.