Posts Under: Policy

SIIA Releases Issue Brief on Preemption and Privacy, Reiterating Support for a Harmonized Framework for Information Privacy in the U.S.

SIIA, like many others in the tech industry, eagerly awaits a draft privacy bill from the Hill. We support a strong and comprehensive federal privacy law that is designed to prevent and remedy harms, gives consumers meaningful control and access to their personal data, and bars unreasonable data collection and use practices. As we have noted in many fora, how to achieve this will require many sensitive policy decisions, all of which Congress is uniquely poised to decide.

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Increasing Transparency, Improving Control and Expanding Choice for Consumers – Companies Can Do This and Continue to Innovate!

With Congress returned from the August recess, the technology community and consumers nationwide continue to await action on data privacy – namely, legislation that will strengthen and harmonize data privacy protections while promoting continued U.S. leadership in innovation.

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Takeaways From International AI And Emerging Technologies Conference

I had the honor of representing SIIA at the July 16-17, 2019 “International Conference on AI-Emerging Technologies and Intellectual Property – Connecting the Bits.”  Many thanks to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Israeli Patent Office, and the Israeli Innovation Authority.   My panel participation presentation on “AI and Regulation – The Broader Picture” can be found here.  During my remarks, I focused on trade agreement protections relevant to AI, protections for proprietary data, and explainability/auditability issues.  There were a few themes that struck me from the two days of conversations with colleagues.  First, participants did not contemplate omnibus AI legislation or regulation.  Second, intellectual property remains a key tool in incentivizing AI innovation.  Third, there are a number of interesting conversations about AI and patent law, some of which touch directly on SIIA a ...

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SIIA Moderates IAPP Public Records Panel: Differences to be Sure, But Areas of Consensus Emerge

On May 3, Sara DePaul, SIIA’s Senior Director for Technology Policy, moderated a panel at the IAPP’s Global Privacy Summit 2019 in Washington DC on “Balancing Transparency and Privacy in Open Access to Public Records.” The panel featured the views of Cindy Van Ort, Chief Privacy Officer of Thomson Reuters; Chris Calabrese, Vice President for Policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology; and David Cuillier, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona School of Journalism. The panelists engaged in a spirited discussion and found a few high-level points of consensus, such as: that the use of public records confer important social benefits, that open access and use can yield the potential for harmful results that should be accounted for, and that the treatment of public records by privacy laws can raise First Amendment concerns that must be balanced by policymakers. They differed, however, in whether and how a privacy law should apply to public records dat ...

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European Council Approves Negotiating Mandates for Trade Agreements with United States

On Monday April 15th the European Council approved negotiating mandates for two potential trade agreements between the European Union and the United States.  This is a procedural but important step in the process, as it signifies that the leaders of all 28 EU Member States have given their approval for the European Commission to act on their behalf to formally launch negotiations with the U.S. on two potential trade agreements – one on conformity assessment, and the other on eliminating tariffs on industrial goods.  Launching these negotiations is a direct outcome of the meeting between President Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last July, as articulated in the Joint Statement. While this is certainly a significant development in transatlantic relations, it’s important to note that the mandates are narrowly drawn, intended to achieve what EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström described as “two targeted agreements that wil ...

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FY20 Budget Proposal Zeros Out Critical Programs for Education Technology

The proposed FY20 budget slashes funding for critical education technology programs at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The proposal outlines a number of priorities and makes a number of cuts to other programs reflecting the Administration’s desire to cut federal spending at ED. While it is unlikely that Congress will pass a budget that looks similar to this proposal, the FY20 budget cycle may be more contentious than previous years with the White House promising to follow the deal that was negotiated in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011 enacted a series of complex mechanisms that has an impact on the federal budget. Government wide cuts, applicable to both mandatory and discretionary spending, were triggered after a failure to make a deal on deficit reduction in 2013. These cuts have been delayed a number of times but it seems the White House may push to keep the sequestration cuts intact this budget cycle as described in this ...

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Congress Should Pass a Strong Federal Privacy Law that Protects Consumers, Promotes Innovation, and Enables the Use of Publicly Available Information

On March 12, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “GDPR & CCPA: Opt-ins, Consumer Control, and the Impact on Competition and Innovation.” The Committee heard from witnesses representing industry, consumer organizations, and academia, who discussed a broad range of issues to inform a federal privacy law: from meaningful consumer controls to the successes and failures of other privacy frameworks to beefed up enforcement by the FTC . One important topic that was not discussed was the importance of publicly available information and how it should be treated by a federal privacy law. As SIIA explained in recent comments to the Senate, the social benefits and public policy principles promoted by the processing of public data are tangible, indisputable, and balanced. Public data is used to provide choice and access to credit for personal finances, to enable credit for business expansion to grow our economy, and to promote public safety. Moreover, the free flow o ...

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Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) Hosts January 25, 2019 Artificial Intelligence Event With George Washington University’s Institute For International Economics And The Institute For International Science And Technology

This well attended event entitled: “Artificial Intelligence: What Can be Learned from Other Countries Approaches?” can be viewed on YouTube here.   Professor Susan Aaronson provide a preview of her work on the topic which will be discussed in a paper entitled: “Data is a Development Issue.”  Some takeaways included the reality that there are no broadly generalizable studies on the impact of AI on job creation – in fact, available data can be used to posit both that it contributes to job loss or gain; cybersecurity will include an AI component; bias in AI is possible (just as it is in non-AI contexts), but it can be addressed; and, the AI use skills deficiency in people capable of an inter-disciplinary approach to AI use is both real but also an opportunity.  Given that McKinsey (among other estimates of the economic impact of AI) estimates that AI could deliver up to 16% higher global GDP by 2030, understanding and taking advantage of t ...

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French Data Protection Authority (DPA - CNIL) Google Fine Shows That Regulatory-Industry Cooperation Crucial To Get Privacy Right

On January 21, 2019, the French National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) fined Google Euros 50 million for not complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).   There will be a legal challenge, but this blog focuses on the policy considerations surrounding the decision.  There are at least three initial takeaways from the CNIL decision.  First, this enforcement action demonstrates that the GDPR should not be replicated word for word in a possible U.S. federal privacy law.  Some notion of consumer harm should enter the calculation when a fine is considered.  Second, DPAs should be more forthcoming with guidance on how to comply with the GDPR, especially when companies are making a good faith effort to comply with the law.  Third, there is a risk that the one-stop-shop is going to become effectively meaningless.  As U.S. policymakers consider a federal privacy law, this should be a key co ...

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