While far from getting us back to any kind of normal that predated the COVID-19 pandemic, states have begun to relax lockdown requirements and some previously closed “nonessential” businesses are returning to operations. With such openings, governmental entities, trade organizations, and others are wisely recommending protocols, including using wellness screenings, in an effort to lower the risk that such reopenings result in a reversal of trends that have flattened the infection curve. While such protocols focus on ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees, customers, and others physically visiting the businesses and are necessary in any consideration of reopening, businesses implementing new data collection from their employees and customers need to consider the privacy implications of doing so.
Continue Reading Reopening Plans and Recommended Protocols Beg New Privacy Issues

Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Mark Warner have introduced the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act in response to the bill of the same subject released by Senate Republicans (the COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act) at the end of last month. As with the CCDPA, the PHEPA regulates the collection of emergency health data. While the respective bills differ in many ways, the most glaring distinctions focus (not surprisingly) on enforcement, preemption, and certain uses of data.
Continue Reading Senate Democrats Release Competing COVID-19 Privacy Bill

A group of Republican senators has proposed a new privacy law to govern the collection and use of certain personal information thought to be both important and at risk during the current coronavirus crisis.

While numerous companies and governments have developed and deployed apps and programs to track individuals and trace contacts between individuals in furtherance of the laudable goal of helping to better understand and address the pandemic, there have been concerns that such data could be collected without proper authorization and/or used for purposes outside of the scope for which the data is willingly provided.
Continue Reading Federal “COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act” Proposed

With all of the business interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many worldwide trademark offices have taken steps to recognize the issues caused by the crisis. The offices in which applicants from the U.S. most commonly file – the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) – have provided some relief.
Continue Reading Trademark Office Deadlines and Coronavirus-Related Delays

With the explosion of COVID-19 cases worldwide, companies and governments have expanded their interest in the use of the vast stores of consumer data. Even where such collection and use of personal data is ostensibly for the public good, the privacy rights and legal requirements applicable to such data must be considered carefully.[i]
Continue Reading Public Ends From Private Means: Privacy Rights and Benevolent Use of Personal Data

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that went into effect on January 1, 2020 provided for a grace period to allow companies additional time to come into compliance with the new regulation. That grace period ensured the California Attorney General’s office would not bring enforcement actions until six months after publication of the office’s regulations, or July 1, 2020, whichever came first.  The AG’s office continues to revise its proposed regulations, including revisions as recent as March 11, 2020, so the grace period is still currently scheduled to end July 1, 2020.
Continue Reading CCPA Enforcement During COVID-19 Pandemic

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) presents challenging medical privacy issues for employers. Employers must observe their employees’ continued legal right to privacy—including under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), HIPAA, and/or relevant state and local laws—while maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. Below are some privacy guidelines for employers to consider with respect to the coronavirus outbreak.
Continue Reading Coronavirus and Employee Privacy Laws: What Employers Should Know