Florida Pushes Forward a Social Media Ban for Kids Under 16

Florida’s legislature has passed a bill banning children younger than 16 from having social media accounts despite some pushback from Governor Ron DeSantis, who said he will be wrestling with whether to sign the measure into law. Due to a procedural requirement, DeSantis will have to sign or veto the proposed legislation before lawmakers conclude the current session in a matter of weeks. He has expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of a provision to let parents override the restriction, which would curtail access to the most popular sites, potentially impacting TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube. Continue reading Florida Pushes Forward a Social Media Ban for Kids Under 16

USPTO Says Only Humans Can Patent, Although AI May Assist

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued revised guidance on patents for inventions created using artificial intelligence, a fast-developing category of intellectual property law. The advisory says patents may cover AI-assisted inventions in cases where “a natural person provided a significant contribution.” Insofar as what constitutes appropriately significant input, the agency is looking for the “right balance” between “awarding patent protection to promote human ingenuity and investment for AI-assisted inventions while not unnecessarily locking up innovation for future developments,” according to a USPTO blog post. Continue reading USPTO Says Only Humans Can Patent, Although AI May Assist

Apple Is Bringing Changes to Comply with Digital Markets Act

To comply with the Digital Markets Act, Apple is making changes to iOS, Safari and the App Store in the European Union. The changes include new options for processing app payments and distributing iOS apps, plus more than 600 new APIs, expanded app analytics and functionality for alternative browser engines, Apple says. To combat scams and fraud as Apple loosens restrictions, the company is introducing something called Notarization for iOS apps, to authorize marketplace developers, and is adding disclosures on alternative payments. The new capabilities will become available to users in the 27 EU countries beginning in March. Continue reading Apple Is Bringing Changes to Comply with Digital Markets Act

CES: Experts Discuss the Path Toward a National Privacy Law

In a conversation with CTA Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Rachel Nemeth during CES 2024 in Las Vegas, a group of experts on consumer affairs and federal regulatory policy delved into the impact of existing and recent legislation on various sectors. Interestingly, they all agreed on one thing: the need for a national privacy law to replace the patchwork of differing state laws. T-Mobile Director of Federal Regulatory Affairs Melanie Tiano noted that currently 13 states have comprehensive privacy laws and that, two weeks into the new legislative session, she’s tracking more than 30 privacy-related bills. Continue reading CES: Experts Discuss the Path Toward a National Privacy Law

CES: FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter on AI Regulation

In a CES conversation with Consumer Technology Association Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Rachel Nemeth, FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter discussed the Commission’s work on AI-enabled impersonation fraud, privacy, and right of repair. Taking the stage just after FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, Slaughter said she wanted to co-sign his plea for “full visibility of the work we do.” “We have responsibility to all Americans to make sure they are represented in the substance of the work we do,” she said. “The same is true for industries that want to reach all Americans.” Continue reading CES: FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter on AI Regulation

EU Makes Provisional Agreement on Artificial Intelligence Act

The EU has reached a provisional agreement on the Artificial Intelligence Act, making it the first Western democracy to establish comprehensive AI regulations. The sweeping new law predominantly focuses on so-called “high-risk AI,” establishing parameters — largely in the form of reporting and third-party monitoring — “based on its potential risks and level of impact.” Parliament and the 27-country European Council must still hold final votes before the AI Act is finalized and goes into effect, but the agreement, reached Friday in Brussels after three days of negotiations, means the main points are set. Continue reading EU Makes Provisional Agreement on Artificial Intelligence Act

Meta’s EU Social Media Subscription Plan Draws Complaints

Meta Platforms’ workaround to European privacy laws regarding ad-targeting has run afoul of watchdog agencies, resulting in two complaints filed with the EU’s network of consumer protection authorities against the U.S. tech giant. Meta contends its so-called “pay-or-consent model” — requiring users of its social platforms to choose between agreeing to be tracked for ad-targeting purposes or pay a monthly subscription fee for ad-free service — falls within permissible parameters set by EU authorities. The more than 20 groups that have jointly filed suit say the strategy is illegal under EU law, describing it as “unfair, deceptive and aggressive.” Continue reading Meta’s EU Social Media Subscription Plan Draws Complaints

Ireland Fines TikTok $368 Million for Mishandling of User Data

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) announced a TikTok fine of about $368 million today based on how the popular social platform processes data of younger users. DPC announced in 2021 that it was investigating TikTok’s compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy and security laws. The investigation identified specific problems with TikTok’s default account settings, the Family Pairing settings, and its age verification process (although the age verification model did not violate GDPR, the probe found that TikTok did not sufficiently protect the privacy of children under 13 who were able to create an account). Continue reading Ireland Fines TikTok $368 Million for Mishandling of User Data

SEC Treats NFTs as Unregistered Securities, Fines Company

After raising $30 million from investors and generating $5.4 million selling NFTs on marketplace OpenSea, Los Angeles-based entertainment firm Impact Theory LLC has agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission a $6 million settlement in what has been reported as the SEC’s first NFT enforcement action. Impact Theory was accused of selling “unregistered asset securities in the form of purported non-fungible tokens.” Purported, because the SEC claims the NFTs “sold to investors were investment contracts and therefore securities” and as such, are required by law to be registered. Continue reading SEC Treats NFTs as Unregistered Securities, Fines Company

Illinois Law Protecting Child Vloggers Will Take Effect in 2024

Illinois has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation protecting children who are social media influencers. Beginning in July 2024, children under 16 who appear in monetized video content online will have a legal right to compensation for their work, even if that means litigating against their parents. “The rise of social media has given children new opportunities to earn a profit,” Illinois Senator David Koehler said about the bill he sponsored. “Many parents have taken this opportunity to pocket the money, while making their children continue to work in these digital environments. Continue reading Illinois Law Protecting Child Vloggers Will Take Effect in 2024

U.S. and EU Formally Adopt Long-Awaited Data Sharing Deal

The European Union has agreed to a data sharing agreement with the United States, bringing to a close a years-long negotiation that saw U.S. national security concerns bump up against European privacy rights. The new EU-U.S. Data Privacy Framework — which replaces a previous iteration, the Privacy Shield, invalidated by EU courts in 2020 — was a focus of Big Tech. Under the new agreement, Europeans can lodge formal objections when they feel their personal information has been improperly accessed by American intelligence agencies, with an independent judicial review body, the Data Protection Review Court, established to evaluate such claims. Continue reading U.S. and EU Formally Adopt Long-Awaited Data Sharing Deal

SCOTUS Limits Enforcement of Foreign Trademark Violations

The world was a much smaller place in 1946 when Congress passed the Lanham Act, the legal framework for U.S. trademark protection. Last week, the Supreme Court decided the Lanham Act is applicable almost exclusively to infringement on U.S. soil. Companies that expect to rely on Lanham to protect foreign trademark violations through U.S. lawsuits are well-advised to come up with another plan. Until Congress updates the code. Led by Sonia Sotomayor, four justices said it was appropriate to adopt a broader standard “when there is a likelihood of consumer confusion in the United States.” Continue reading SCOTUS Limits Enforcement of Foreign Trademark Violations

Canadian Law Requires That Tech Firms Pay for News Links

The Parliament of Canada passed a law requiring technology companies to pay news outlets when linking to their articles, a move that has Meta Platforms threatening to pull news content from Facebook and Instagram in that country. Canada’s Online News Act, which applies to domestic outlets, is the latest move in a global battle between publishers and Big Tech, and follows a similar law in Australia. “A strong, independent and free press is fundamental to our democracy,” a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration tweeted when the law cleared the vote last week. Continue reading Canadian Law Requires That Tech Firms Pay for News Links

European Union Takes Steps to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

The European Parliament on Wednesday took a major step to legislate artificial intelligence, passing a draft of the AI Act, which puts restrictions on many of what are believed to be the technology’s riskiest uses. The EU has been leading the world in advancing AI regulation, and observers are already citing this developing law as a model framework for global policymakers eager to place guardrails on this rapidly advancing technology. Among the Act’s key tenets: it will dramatically curtail use of facial recognition software and require AI firms such as OpenAI to disclose more about their training data. Continue reading European Union Takes Steps to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

Louisiana Approves Parental Consent Bill for Online Accounts

A bill passed by the Louisiana State Legislature that bans minors from creating social media accounts without parental consent is the latest in a string of legal measures that take aim at the online world to combat a perceived mental health crisis among America’s youth. Utah also recently passed a law requiring consent of a parent or guardian when anyone under 18 wants to create a social account. And California now mandates some sites default to the highest privacy for minor accounts. The Louisiana legislation stands out as extremely restrictive, encompassing multiplayer games and video-sharing apps. Continue reading Louisiana Approves Parental Consent Bill for Online Accounts