State AG Updates: Arizona, Texas, California, North Carolina, Washington, New York and an AG Coalition

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In this edition of Faegre Drinker’s State Attorneys General Update, we discuss:

Arizona AG Enters $85 Million Settlement With Google for Alleged Improper Use of Consumer Location Data

Google agreed to an $85 million settlement for alleged violations of Arizona’s Consumer Fraud Act. Specifically, the Arizona AG alleged that Google violated the Act by building “coercive design tactics used to manipulate users’ behavior,” known as “dark patterns,” into its Android phone software. In this instance, the AG alleged that Google created misleading settings, so even if a consumer turned off location tracking in the “Location History” menu, location data would still be tracked and used to sell advertisements through other settings — specifically, the “Web & App Activity” menu.

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First Biometric Information Privacy Act Trial Results in $228M Verdict

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Last week, the first jury trial under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA) resulted in a $228 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff and the class.

The case, Rogers v. BNSF Railway Co., was filed in May 2019 and was pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. A class was certified in March 2022. Plaintiff alleged that BNSF unlawfully scanned his and other truck drivers’ fingerprints for identity verification when he and they visited BNSF rail yards. He claimed the company took this scan without written notice or consent as required under BIPA. BNSF argued, among other things, that the third-party vendor it hired to control gate access was the only party to collect drivers’ fingerprints, and that BNSF therefore had not independently violated BIPA.

Pretrial briefing in the case was extensive. Each side filed several motions in limine seeking to bar or include certain evidence in the trial. For example, the Plaintiff found several references to use of “biometrics” or “biometric identities” on BNSF’s website that they alleged were responsive to former document requests. Anticipating objections from BNSF, Plaintiff filed a preemptive motion asking the court to permit them to introduce these exhibits at trial. Plaintiff were able to use this information at the trial and suggest that BNSF was aware of the biometric collection and that BNSF itself was collecting the information.

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Artificial Intelligence Briefing: FTC Holds Forum on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security

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Our latest briefing explores the recent FTC commercial surveillance and data security forum (including discussion on widespread use of AI and algorithms in advertising), California’s inquiry into potentially discriminatory health care algorithms, and the recent California Department of Insurance workshop that could shape future rulemaking regarding the industry’s use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and algorithms.

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Sephora Settles with California AG for $1.2M for Alleged CCPA Violations Relating to Third-Party Cookies and User-Enabled Opt-Out Signals

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On August 24, 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a settlement with Sephora for violations of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The action places online consumer tracking, analytics and advertising squarely in the regulatory crosshairs. “Sephora, like many online retailers, installs third-party companies’ tracking software on its website and in its app so that these third parties can monitor consumers as they shop,” the AG alleged, “. . . [and] when a company like Sephora utilizes third-party tracking technology without alerting consumers and giving them the opportunity to control their data, they deprive consumers of the ability to limit the proliferation of their data on the web.”

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NIST Releases New Draft of Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework for Comment

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released the second draft of its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Risk Management Framework (RMF) for comment. Comments are due by September 29, 2022.

NIST, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, helps individuals and businesses of all sizes better understand, manage and reduce their respective “risk footprint.”  Although the NIST AI RMF is a voluntary framework, it has the potential to impact legislation. NIST frameworks have previously served as basis for state and federal regulations, like the 2017 New York State Department of Financial Services Cybersecurity Regulation (23 NYCRR 500).

The AI RMF was designed and is intended for voluntary use to address potential risks in “the design, development, use and evaluation of AI products, services and systems.” NIST envisions the AI RMF to be a “living document” that will be updated regularly as technology and approaches to AI reliability to evolve and change over time.

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FTC Signals Intention to Move Forward to Adopt New Privacy Rules in the Absence of Federal Legislation

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), on a split party vote on August 11, approved an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the Notice) that focuses on potential new rules and requirements that could apply to entities engaged in targeted advertising or other forms of personal information gathering and sharing. Once this Notice is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to comment on the merits of the proposed new rules. There is also a public forum on the Notice slated to take place on September 8. The FTC’s action comes on the heels of legislative attempts to codify federal privacy protections that have yet to come to fruition.

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