In with the New: 2014 Privacy, Advertising and Digital Media Predictions

By on January 24, 2014

Data privacy and security made the headlines practically daily in 2013.  Our second annual Privacy and Data Protection 2013 Year in Review topped 65 pages!

What privacy, advertising and digital media trends will make headlines in 2014? Here are predictions from Of Digital Interest’s U.S. editorial team:

User Tracking Law Enforcement in California: “Amendments to the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) took effect on January 1, 2014 that require every website that is available to California residents to disclose how it responds to Do Not Track signals from web browsers and what third party data collection is occurring on the website.  I predict that we will see enforcement activity from the California Attorney General about whether website owners/operators have made disclosures to consumers that not only meet the new CalOPPA requirements but also accurately reflect tracking activities by the website and by third parties.”  – Heather Egan Sussman, Partner

No Kid-ding:  “January 1 marked the six-month anniversary of the effective date of the amended “COPPA Rule,” which requires businesses to have parental consent before personal information is collected from kids under age 13.  Having just approved a parental consent method (in December), I predict that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will initiate COPPA enforcement actions related to social media (now that photos and videos are personal information under COPPA) and in mobile apps (now that COPPA covers geo-location data).  Perhaps the FTC will start by investigating the app developers to which the FTC sent letters explaining their new COPPA compliance responsibilities last May.”  – Julia Jacobson, Partner

Safe Harbor Will Stay Safe:  “Last year’s government surveillance accusations made the U.S. Safe Harbor Program a flash point for debate between EU and U.S. data protection regulators.  Nevertheless, very few on either side of the Atlantic believe that companies properly certified under the Safe Harbor Program should disrupt data transfers necessary to meet credible business objectives.   I predict that the rhetoric will continue, but so will the U.S. Safe Harbor Program, albeit perhaps tweaked in response to the European Commission’s recently-issued recommendations to improve the Progam’s effectiveness.   More debate to come in 2014, but, meanwhile, many U.S. companies will continue to view Safe Harbor certification as their preferred approach to E.U. data protection compliance and will continue to implement data protection policies and programs intended to comply with the Safe Harbor Principles.”  – Ann Killilea, Counsel

Cloudy Forecast:  “The year of 2014 is quickly becoming the year of the mega-sized data breach, with the Target and Neiman Marcus incidents leading the way.  Corporate customers have long been aware that cloud offerings present data security concerns, but may not have been as laser-focused on the data breach aspects as they should.  I predict that in 2014, as the cloud service market becomes a commercial fact of life, data breach concerns will dominate how customers select and contract with their cloud service providers, and how they implement their incident response plans by including cloud service providers in their preparations.”  – Ann Killilea, Counsel

Data Breaches Won’t Slow Shoppers:  “Recent data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus will continue to focus the data security spotlight on retailers and credit card companies.  However, my prediction is that consumers won’t significantly change their purchasing habits or turn away from plastic.  Many consumers seem to view data breaches as the cost of doing business in the modern world.”  – Bridget O’Connell, Associate

Hands Off, Employers!  “The widespread use of social media in the workplace will cause more states to enact so-called password protection laws, prohibiting employers from asking for or requiring employees or prospective employees to provide access to their personal social media accounts.  Now that password protection laws are on the books in 13 states and password protection legislation is pending in more than 30 states, I predict that state password protection laws will become the norm.”  – Sabrina Dunlap, Associate

More Internet Things:  “Concerns about the privacy and security of the tremendous amounts of data collected by internet-connected appliances, devices and other “things” have the caught the attention of the FTC.  I predict that 2014 will bring the rapid proliferation of connected “things” manufactured by companies unprepared to deal with data privacy and security issues and that the FTC will undertake action against several manufacturers for not providing adequate security.”  – Manoj Khandekar, Staff Attorney

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