United States: State Of The Union Address Places The President's Privacy And Cybersecurity Proposals Front And Center

Last Updated: January 23 2015
Article by Mauricio F. Paez, Gabriel Ledeen, Todd S. McClelland and Richard J. Johnson
Most Read Contributor in United States, September 2019

In his January 20, 2015, State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama notably focused on privacy and cybersecurity, stressing the urgent need for comprehensive legislation. He raised the specter of foreign nations and hackers shutting down American networks, stealing trade secrets, and invading the privacy of American families. Not surprisingly, he also urged Congress to take bipartisan action.

The president's statement capped a week-long promotional effort in support of various White House privacy and cybersecurity initiatives, including speeches at the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") (and accompanying fact sheet) and the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center ("NCCIC") (and accompanying fact sheet), remarks before congressional leadership, a joint statement with Prime Minister David Cameron on U.S./U.K. cybersecurity cooperation, and an announcement by Vice President Joseph Biden regarding a cybersecurity consortium at historically black colleges and universities.

The president's announcements leading up to the State of the Union Address provide a substantive backdrop to his insistence on bipartisan privacy and cybersecurity legislation, which as proposed includes a wide array of initiatives aimed at information sharing between government and the private sector, student privacy, identity theft, and the authority of law enforcement to pursue and prosecute cybercriminals. The key components of the president's various proposals follow.

 

  • Facilitating cyber threat information sharing between government and the private sector. Under the president's proposed plan, companies that share cyber threat information with the NCCIC would receive "targeted liability protection"—a largely undefined phrase—provided they comply with certain privacy restrictions such as removing unnecessary personal information and taking measures to protect any information that must be shared. The NCCIC would disseminate the threat information in as close to real time as practicable to relevant federal agencies and also to private sector information sharing and analysis organizations. The Department of Homeland Security and the attorney general, in consultation with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and others, would develop receipt, retention, use, and disclosure guidelines for the federal government.
  • Updating law enforcement authority to pursue and prosecute cybercriminals. The president proposed amending the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations ("RICO") Act so that it applies to cybercrimes, clarifies the penalties for computer crimes, and harmonizes those penalties with that applicable to other similar non-cybercrimes. He also would amend the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act so that "insignificant conduct does not fall within the statute," while reinforcing that the Act can be used to prosecute insiders who abuse their ability to access information for their own purposes. The proposal would allow for the prosecution of those that sell botnets and those that sell stolen U.S. financial information overseas. It also would increase federal authority by enabling law enforcement to deter the sale of stalking and identity-theft-related spyware, and it increases judicial authority by giving courts the ability to shut down botnets used in criminal activity, such as distributed denial of service attacks and others.
  • Establishing a national data breach notification standard. Citing the cost and confusion caused by different state data breach notification statutes, the president proposed the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, which would preempt state notification statutes. Among its many notable requirements, the Act would generally establish a rigid 30-day notification requirement from the discovery of a breach and preempt all existing state data breach notification laws currently on the books in 47 states.
  • Allowing educational data to be used only for educational purposes. The president proposed legislation in the form of the Student Digital Privacy Act that would prohibit companies from using or selling data collected on students in the classroom to third parties for purposes that are not related to education, such as online marketing, targeted advertising, or profiling. The bill was modeled on California's Student Online Personal Information Protection Act and builds on the recommendations of the White House Big Data and Privacy review. In addition, the Department of Education's Privacy Technical Assurance Center will release tools to help educators protect student privacy, such as model terms of service and teacher training assistance.
  • Advancing a renewed proposal for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The president advanced a renewed proposal for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights that he first proposed in 2012, which contains "basic baseline protections"—arguably amorphous in nature—that would apply across industries and purport to secure the consumer's ability to decide what information companies can collect on them and how that data is used and the expectation that companies will store consumer data securely and be held accountable for its use.
  • Launching Department of Energy programs. The Department of Energy will release a voluntary code of conduct for utilities and third parties to protect electricity customer data, including energy usage information. Over the next five years, the department pledges $25 million in grants to support a cybersecurity education consortium consisting of 13 historically black colleges and universities, two national labs, and the Charleston County School District.
  • Convening cybersecurity summit at Stanford University. On February 13, the White House will convene a cybersecurity summit at Stanford University, bringing together government officials, industry leaders, academics, and privacy professionals to address a range of topics, such as public–private partnerships and cybersecurity information sharing, cybersecurity practices and technologies, and secure payment technologies.


Prior efforts to push a consumer privacy bill of rights and a national data breach notification scheme have stalled. And given the current political environment, the likelihood that any of the president's new proposals gains real traction remains to be seen. At the very least, however, the president's State of the Union Address confirms that companies can expect increased attention from Washington on privacy and cybersecurity issues.

As Congress considers the president's proposals, the deliberative process will surely spark increased dialogue as government and industry alike weigh the benefits of the various proposals against the risk of liability and additional compliance burdens that each may create. With or without action from Congress, it is imperative that companies assess their privacy and cybersecurity policies and procedures in order to minimize the attendant compliance risks.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions