Although the White House report remains a blueprint and does not
include enforceable regulations, the administration signaled that
it will immediately begin convening companies, privacy advocates
and other stakeholders to develop and implement codes of conduct
based on the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. If an organization
were to voluntarily adopt such codes of conduct, then, according to
the White House, that organization's public commitment to
adhere to such codes of conduct would "become enforceable
under Section 5 of the FTC Act."
The Obama administration also indicated that it will work with
Congress to craft legislation based on the Consumer Privacy Bill of
Rights, and empower the FTC and State Attorneys General to enforce
Specifically, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights provides that
consumers have the following rights:
to exercise control over what personal information is collected
by organizations, and how they use it
to have access to understandable and accessible details about
privacy and security practices
to expect companies to collect, use and disclose data in ways
that are consistent with the context in which consumers provided
to have data handled in a secure manner
to access and correct data
to have reasonable limits on the data that organizations
collect and retain
to have their data handled by companies with appropriate
measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy
Bill of Rights.
In addition, the California Department of Justice last week
announced a Joint Statement of Principles (the
"Principles") with the leading operators of mobile app
platforms to improve privacy protections for consumers. Under the
Principles, Amazon, Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and
RIM (the "Platforms") committed to taking steps to
increase awareness among mobile app developers about their privacy
obligations under California law, and to promoting transparency in
Specifically, the Principles call for the Platforms to (i)
include, in the app submission process, optional data fields for
developers to submit the text of, or links to, their privacy
policies, (ii) enable end user access to the privacy policies
submitted by developers, and (iii) give end users tools to report
non-compliant apps to the Platforms, and to implement processes to
respond to these reports.
In the release accompanying the Principles,
California's Justice Department noted that the Principles were
designed to ensure that mobile app developers comply with the
California Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires operators
of online services (including mobile apps) that collect personal
information about Californians to conspicuously post a privacy
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Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.
At last week's Health Care Compliance Association's annual "Compliance Institute," Iliana Peters, HHS Office for Civil Rights' Senior Advisor for HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement, provided a thorough update of HIPAA enforcement trends as well as a road map to OCR's current and future endeavors.
The challenges that come along with securing sensitive information are unprecedented. It has become extremely difficult to protect data which is stored electronically, and breaches have unfortunately become a frequent occurrence.
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