Over the years, Congress has put forth various legislative proposals regarding data privacy. None of the past legislation received the support necessary to enable passage of a comprehensive national data privacy law. However, data collection and analysis is becoming a key weapon in the fight against COVID-19 as companies and governments have sought to come up with effective and socially distant ways to keep close tabs on people’s health status and movements. These methods often involve using technology to collect vital but potentially sensitive health and location information.
As states begin to reopen and businesses that were shuttered for some time plan for a return to work, many employers are faced with the challenge of determining how best to create a safe work environment for employees. In order to enforce social distancing requirements and ensure that employees maintain a safe distance from one another in the workplace, some employers have considered the use of wearable technology.
For the second year in a row, the Washington legislature failed to pass an ambitious consumer privacy protection bill into law.
California’s all-inclusive privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which took effect on January 1, 2020, has already been cited in numerous lawsuits. Over this next year, employers are likely to see lawsuits testing the waters of the new statute. For now, the first wave of CCPA lawsuits raise several unsettled questions and serve as an important reminder to implement procedures to bring your business in compliance.
While the federal government continues to work on a national program of consumer privacy safeguards, Washington is on the brink of joining California in a West Coast wave of consumer privacy legislation. In January 2020, a bipartisan group of Washington legislators presented new legislation for a privacy act that looks to surpass the recent California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) as the most protective consumer privacy act in the country.