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Internet & Social Media

  • U.S. Passes Social Media and Data Broker Bills Targeting Data Use Practices

    On April 23, 2024, the U.S. Congress passed two pieces of legislation as part of the larger foreign aid package directed at Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific. President Biden signed the bills into law on April 24. While much of the attention has been on TikTok, the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act and the Protecting Americans’ Data from Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024 have wide-ranging implications and may potentially affect a large number of industries, in addition to social media companies. The below article provides a summary of what is at stake.

  • DOI Rule Endorses Seminole Tribe’s Model of Remote Wagering

    On March 22, 2024, a new federal rule published by the U.S. Department of the Interior (Department or DOI) went into effect, governing the Department’s review and oversight of certain tribal gaming arrangements.

  • Four New State Consumer Privacy Laws Are Slated to Take Effect in 2024

    Despite growing momentum, the United States remains one of the largest nations without a comprehensive federal privacy law. This has led to a significant uptick in state-level privacy legislation since the 2018 enactment of the California Consumer Privacy Act. In 2023, alone, four consumer privacy laws went into effect in Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia and Utah and eight new states enacted similar laws.

  • In Latest Net Neutrality Proceeding, the FCC Proposes Reclassifying Broadband Internet Access as a Telecommunications Service, Largely Reinstating 2015 Open Internet Rules

    At its October 2023 Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed rules that, if adopted, would reclassify Broadband Internet Access Service (BIAS) as a telecommunications service and reinstate the Commission’s authority adopted in 2015 but discarded in 2018. The item was supported by the three Democrats on the Commission and opposed by the two Republican commissioners. Since 2005, when the FCC adopted its Internet Policy Statement, Commission leaders have sought to regulate or deregulate BIAS through policy statements, by placing conditions on internet access companies seeking to merge, and, most notably, by classifying internet access service as either an information service, which affords the FCC limited regulatory authority, or a telecommunications service, which gives the FCC more robust tools to regulate service provider conduct.

  • Recent Updates on Foreign Investment Restrictions and Export Controls Governing Semiconductors, Quantum Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    From August 27 to August 30, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo visited China, marking the first trip to China by a U.S. commerce chief in five years. The trip, which came amid growing tensions between China and the United States, sought to open dialogue on crucial matters, including export controls, investment restrictions and national security. One reported success from Raimondo’s trip was the creation of a commercial working group which will meet twice a year at the vice minister level. While Raimondo stressed that this group will not “solve everything overnight,” it has been hailed as a welcome step towards transparency between either country.

  • Administration Poised to Act on “Internet of Things” Devices

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to create a labeling program for Internet of Things (IoT) devices with comments due September 25, 2023, and reply comments due October 10, 2023.

  • Leading Generative AI Companies Commit to Voluntary White House Guidelines

    On July 21, 2023, the White House announced the voluntary commitment of seven companies to high-level principles concerning safety, security and public trust with respect to their generative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. These voluntary principles will serve as a guidepost for the industry until Congress develops and passes legislation for AI development.

  • China Finalizes Its First Administrative Measures Governing Generative AI

    On July 13, 2023, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), China’s main regulator for cybersecurity and data privacy, issued its final version of the Interim Administrative Measures for Generative Artificial Intelligence Service (Generative AI Measures), which will come into effect on August 15, 2023. Compared to the draft regulations (Draft Regulations) published by the CAC in April for public comments, the Generative AI Measures have relaxed several requirements on the providers offering generative AI services and placed more emphasis on encouraging technological development and innovation.


  • Upcoming EU Rules on Digital Operational Resilience

    The new DORA seeks to strengthen the resilience of financial entities against cyber threats posed by information and communication technologies (ICT). DORA’s scope is broad, applying to “financial entities,” such as credit, payment and e-money institutions, account information and crypto-asset service providers, investment firms, central securities depositories, managers of alternative investment funds, management companies, insurance and reinsurance undertakings, and credit rating agencies. Non-EU entities should assess their activities to identify whether they undertake covered activities within the EU and are in scope of DORA.

  • White House Announces Plan to Boost AI Research and Deployment

    One of the most advanced technologies of our time is the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI), a field that currently operates with minimal regulation. U.S. government officials, however, are stepping up their interest in generative AI technology, including assessing the opportunities while cautioning about potential risks. Government agencies are also beginning to seek public comment on these issues, where we expect to see increased activity in the coming months.

  • AI Users Beware: Federal, State and Local Legislators and Regulators to Crack Down on AI-Related Employment Discrimination

    According to a 2022 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, approximately one in four organizations use automation and/or AI to support employment-related activities, such as recruitment and hiring. AI tools used in employment decision-making include chatbots that guide applicants through the application process, algorithms that screen resumes and predict job performance, and even facial recognition tools used in interviews to evaluate a candidate’s attention span. For employers, these tools may offer an efficient and effective way to recruit promising talent, but federal, state and local governments are increasingly focused on the potential for discrimination.

  • Congress Contemplates Creating a New Federal AI Regulatory Agency

    In a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law on May 16, multiple U.S. senators—including Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Peter Welch (D-VT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ)—supported the idea of a federal artificial intelligence (AI) agency to regulate the transformative technology.

  • Outlook on AI and Civil Rights Law and Policy

    The Administration’s October 2022 launch of the AI Bill of Rights: A Vision for Protecting Our Civil Rights was the first step toward cementing equity and civil rights with respect to artificial intelligence (AI) as core values upon which the Administration has built a series of guidance documents and executive actions.

  • FCC Revises Equipment Authorization Rules

    On June 17, 2021 the FCC approved a Report and Order modifying its equipment authorization program for radiofrequency devices. The Order updates the Commission’s marketing and importation rules in order to minimize obstacles to the development and deployment of new products while continuing to ensure that radiofrequency equipment remains compliant with Commission requirements.

  • China Publishes New Draft Regulations on Data Security Management of Automobile Operators to Protect Privacy

    On May 12, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) published the Several Regulations on the Management of Automobile Data Security (Draft for Comment) (Draft Regulations). The Draft Regulations are open for public comment until June 11, 2021.  According to the CAC’s statement, due to growing concerns over personal data security and privacy protection in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Draft Regulations aim to strengthen protection of personal information and important data in automobile-related activities, as well as safeguard national security and the public interest. Below is our summary of the highlights of the Draft Regulations.

  • Congress Moves to Repeal OCC’s “True Lender” Rule

    On May 11, 2021, the Senate voted to repeal a Trump Administration regulation that defines which party is the “true lender” in partnerships between banks and non-banks, including financial technology and other non-bank lending companies. The Senate resolution now heads to the House of Representatives, which is expected to pass the resolution. President Biden has signaled his support for the repeal and will likely enact the repeal following a vote in the House. The repeal of this rule could create regulatory uncertainty for fintechs and other non-bank lenders that were relying on the rule.

  • Data Privacy Fines and Damages “Double Jeopardy”: UK Supreme Court Hears Google “Class Action”

    This week sees a key hearing before the UK Supreme Court in the case of Lloyd v Google, an event long awaited by those familiar with data protection law proceedings in Europe.

  • Affirming Dismissal of AirAsia Lawsuit, D.C. Circuit Court Overrules Prior Decisions Allowing Personal Jurisdiction Based on Internet Presence Alone

    The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a personal injury lawsuit brought against the Malaysian-based airline AirAsia by a passenger and her husband. Erwin-Simpson v. AirAsia, No. 19-7034 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 19, 2021). This recent decision sets a new standard for establishing personal jurisdiction in the Circuit.

  • Countdown to CCPA #2: GDPR Compliance Does Not Equal CCPA Compliance

    The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) goes into effect on January 1, 2020. The Act grants “consumers” (any California resident regardless of whether there is a customer or any other relationship with the covered business) five new rights respecting their personal information.1

  • Countdown to CCPA: Do You Know Where Your Data Is?

    It’s January 2, 2020, and you just received 25 requests asking for disclosure about your data collection, use and sharing practices and for a copy of the specific pieces of personal information you collected about the requesting individuals during the last 12 months. You have 45 days to respond. What do you do? Close down the business so you can find the information? By being prepared you can avoid a crisis.

  • Pillsbury's Post-Election Outlook

    The 2018 Midterm Election played out as most poll forecasters speculated. Although several races have yet to be decided, Republicans have retained control of the Senate, but lost at least 29 seats, allowing the Democrats to wrest back control of the House for the first time since 2010.

  • 2018 Election Night Guide

    Pillsbury’s Political Law and Government Law & Strategies groups break down the need-to-know numbers for this year’s election. Pillsbury’s biennial Election Night Guide examines the potential outcomes for the 2018 Congressional and Governor’s races. Our Public Policy team is also preparing a post-election guide that will be useful in navigating potential changes in Congress.

  • The Dangers of Training Neural Networks with Phone Calls

    If you haven’t seen Sundar Pichai’s presentation on Google Duplex, watch it. The technology is fascinating. Google is developing software that can assist users in completing specific tasks such as making reservations by telephone.

  • Who Is Ultimately in the Driver’s Seat with Autonomous Vehicles?

    When Eddie Rabbitt sang “Drivin’ My Life Away” in 1980, he was chronicling the life of a roadie, of a life spent behind the wheel. At the time, autonomous driving vehicles were still a distant speck on the horizon of the information highway. Today, we are on the cusp of a revolution that offers a near future where no one will have to spend his or her life behind a wheel. As always, the future carries new concerns, dangers and legal developments. We have already seen our first accidents and fatalities related to autonomous driving, and the regulatory and liability landscape is quickly setting context for this new technology—twenty-two states and Washington, D.C., have enacted legislation related to autonomous vehicles (with more pending).

  • Bill Expands Corporate Liability for Human Trafficking to Social Media Companies

    The recently passed Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) creates civil liability for social media companies that benefit from a human trafficker’s online media presence if they “should have known” that their platform was being utilized for such exploitation.

  • Cloud Computing by EU Financial Institutions Gets a New Rule Book

    EU Financial institutions take note: the European Banking Authority’s new cloud computing guidance takes effect July 1, 2018.

  • The Algorithm Did It: The Evolving Legal Landscape of the Internet’s Favorite Tool

    There are no shortage of practical, legal considerations for businesses that employ algorithms.

  • Disclose or Else: FTC Steps Up Prosecution of Social Media Influencers

    In September 2017, the Federal Trade Commission brought its first-ever action against a social media influencer for failing to make appropriate disclosures on sponsored posts. Going forward, anyone who posts sponsored material or even tags a brand in a post should seriously consider the possibility of FTC prosecution.

  • The Internet Stole My Face: New Advances in Technology Could Make Everyone a Digital Video Puppet

    Visual effects artists can create realistic digital replicas of actors that can be manipulated like puppets, and new developments in software technology could soon make digital puppetry accessible to the masses. Protections against unauthorized use of digital replicas can involve copyright or traditional tort claims, but if this technology continues to spread, the difficulty in controlling one’s own likeness will probably increase.

  • The Doxing Dilemma: A Popular Tactic of Social Activists and Cyber Bullies Alike Remains Mostly Legal

    Doxing, the gathering and public distribution of information such as photographs, telephone numbers and addresses found on the internet, may be done to harass or bully someone, or as a form of vigilante activism. While tort remedies could be available, it remains to be seen whether legislation can effectively target doxing without infringing on freedom of speech.

  • Fake and Consequences: Weathering the Reputational Risks and Financial Fallout of “News” that Abuses

    False stories, whether created for fun, mischief or money, quickly become a nuisance to businesses trying to protect their brands and maintain their reputations. Although businesses injured by fake news stories may find refuge in existing laws, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) presents a significant barrier by protecting providers and users of interactive computer services from liability as publishers of information provided by third parties.

  • Bill Banning Streaming Video Tax Rejected

    On April 24, 2017, the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation voted unanimously to postpone for at least one year a bill that would temporarily ban California localities from taxing streaming video services.

  • Internet Vino Veritas: Rules and Guidelines for Social Media Efforts Related to Alcohol Sales

    Highly regulated products like alcohol, however, pose a special situation for online sales. Federal and state laws regulate the sale of alcohol in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, but these regulations also extend to the internet, and how these regulations are applied to an online environment is much more complicated. Each state has its own set of laws restricting the sale and purchase of alcohol, so depending on which state you live in, the restrictions differ.