Insights From The Inevitable: Predictions on Federal Privacy Legislation

Insights From The Inevitable: Predictions on Federal Privacy Legislation

“91% of people polled think that there will be federal privacy legislation and it looks like the majority 55% believe that that'll happen in the next three to four years.” 

This was the results of the audience polling that kicked-off the Inevitable 2020 series hosted by Text IQ on July 29. Our panelists discussed, as Orrick’s Heather Sussman puts it, “the patchwork landscape” of privacy compliance obligations and what the future might hold.

Watch On-Demand

Our distinguished panelists include:

  • Peter Lefkowitz, the Chief Privacy & Digital Risk Officer at Citrix Systems who oversees legal and regulatory risk associated with data, products, and systems, as well as policy engagement on digital issues. Peter was the 2018 Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and is an Adjunct Professor at Boston College Law School.
  • Heather Egan Sussman, the Global Co-chair of Orrick’s Cyber, Privacy & Data Innovation Practice. Focused on privacy, cybersecurity and information management, Heather guides clients through the existing patchwork of laws impacting privacy and cybersecurity around the globe.
  • Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus who leads the company’s legal, corporate governance, SEC reporting, government affairs, and regulatory and compliance activities. Lazarus served as the Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (June 2009 to February 2012) and is the author of two highly acclaimed books.

Harmonizing Data Privacy Standards

“Federal privacy legislation can [bring] greater uniformity, greater clarity, greater operability between the existing laws that we do have. What...that potential for a more harmonized standard can do is help to level the playing field for tech and innovation.” ~Sussman

There are cons as well notes Heather, pointing to how the comprehensive privacy legislation in Europe has made it harder for European technology companies to compete with their American counterparts.

Lefkowitz agrees. Referencing the ECJ Schrems II decision he notes that there are two factors to consider:

  1. The international component
  2. Consumer trust: getting at the “accountability framework” that governs “how you collect, how you use, how you store, how you secure, how you retain and delete,” as well as the transparency around how these things are done.

Is Federal privacy legislation the best way to meet these objectives?

“If it can be done, it's the best way. But [there] are some very difficult challenges harmonizing even just the domestic situation... But I certainly agree with Heather that the need for harmonization is very, very significant.” ~Lazarus

And the drawbacks?

Fundamentally, we haven't yet figured out, the very core of these laws which is on what is the basis you can process data offers Lefkowitz. Peter takes us on a tour of the competing proposals on offer by legislators, lawyers, and others that leave unaddressed myriad concerns.

“if we are going to make progress on a law, I think that we're going to have to settle some really fundamental questions that some of the leading proposals that are out there right now seem to feel have been settled, but from my limited vantage point, haven't really been fully discussed yet.” ~Lefkowitz

The Implications for AI and Innovation?

The implications for AI and data analytics during COVID-19 concerning tracing and collection of health data and other PII is a particularly timely topic discussed by our panelists.

“There is a lot of discussion around the issues of AI, but it's usually in the in the forum of potentially designing algorithms that drive things that we actually find really objectionable...

“There's a real opportunity to get away from that while identifying truly lifesaving or other extraordinary innovations.” ~Lazarus

"We're at such a nascent state of companies and, governments working with AI. Frankly, I think we're at a nascent state of even understanding what AI is", Lefkowitz submits. And, what ensues, is a fascinating discussion around data privacy and AI that traverses the political, legal, technological, and societal implications of enabling the benefits of artificial intelligence while managing for the data privacy implications.

The Data Good Guys

“My best use case is actually Text IQ,” offers Susman. “I mean, because I handle privacy and cybersecurity in my day-to day work when incidents occur, I help companies investigate” using the Text IQ AI.

“[What] the text IQ tool can do is use artificial intelligence in the data breach context, specifically to scan and process vast amounts of data, looking for these precise types of data elements that trigger notification obligation.” ~Sussman

The opportunity to hear three industry leaders who are on the cutting edge of technology and privacy should not be missed.

You will find the full discussion here and The Inevitable 2020 Series lineup here.

For more information on AI for privacy visit here