Privacy & Data Security

Increasing oversight of tech companies, particularly in the realm of consumer privacy, has been a rare example of bipartisan agreement. Despite data privacy being a growing concern for consumers, however, there has been relatively little federal policymaking. To counteract this lack of action, some states have stepped in to fill this void—and have enacted policies that could have large impacts on how businesses operate. The rapid rate at which these laws are being enacted – eleven have been enacted– indicates states are taking an increasingly protective view of consumers’ data privacy. Businesses need to be prepared to comply with these new mandates, or risk costly enforcement measures.

Last month, TikTok sued Montana’s attorney general—alleging the state’s recent TikTok ban is unconstitutional and is preempted by federal law.

On May 17, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed a first-of-its-kind law banning TikTok from operating in the state, in order “[t]o protect Montanans’ personal, private, and sensitive data and information from intelligence gathering by the Chinese Communist Party.”

Last month, the FTC issued a report to Congress advising governments and companies to exercise “great caution” in using artificial intelligence (“AI”) to combat harmful online content.  The report responds to Congress’s request to look into whether and how AI may be used to identify, remove, or otherwise address a wide variety of specified “online harms.”  Among the “harms” covered by Congress’s request were impersonation scams, fake reviews and accounts, deepfakes, illegal drug sales, revenge pornography, hate crimes, online harassment and cyberstalking, and misinformation campaigns aimed at influencing elections.

Website owners who seek to bind visitors to the terms of an arbitration agreement must make those terms “reasonably conspicuous” under the law, and website visitors must “manifest unambiguous assent” to those terms.  That means that the smallest of details – the font and color of the text, the color of the page, the location and appearance of the hyperlinks and the “I agree” button – carry tremendous legal significance.  Those seemingly small design details could make the difference between a dispute being resolved in arbitration, or in litigation.

Earlier this year, we reported on the potential breeding ground for litigation under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”).  A recent decision from an Illinois state appellate panel on the different limitations periods that apply to BIPA provides guidance for companies faced with a BIPA lawsuit and the arguments they can make on a motion to dismiss.

In the recent and significant Warren v DSG Retail Ltd [2021] EWHC 2168 (QB) decision the High Court in England clarified the limited circumstances in which claims for breach of confidence, misuse of private information and the tort of negligence might be advanced by individuals for compensation for distress relating

On February 4, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a customer’s proposed class action lawsuit against a Florida-based fast-food chain, PDQ, over a data breach. The three-judge panel rejected the argument that an increased risk of identity theft was a concrete injury sufficient to confer Article III standing, deepening a circuit split on this issue.


As the D.C. District Court in Wengui v. Clark Hill recently commented, “[m]alicious cyberattacks have unfortunately become a routine part of our modern digital world. So have the lawsuits that follow them….” The court’s decision in that case has added another data point to developing jurisprudence of the cyberattack landscape, specifically concerning the discoverability of post-breach forensics reports.