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Tech Week: Loosening of Facial Recognition Bans, Cyber Insurance Alternatives for Local Governments & More

May 13, 2022

Cities, States Easing Off Facial Recognition Bans

In the last few years, roughly a couple of dozen state and local governments have imposed bans on the use of facial recognition technology due to concerns about it being racially biased. But with recent research showing improvement in the accuracy of the technology across skin tones and crime on the rise, cities, and states are easing up on their earlier restrictions.

In July Virginia will lift the ban it imposed on police use of the technology only a year ago. And the city of New Orleans could be ending its prohibition this month.

Meanwhile, efforts to make the ban California imposed in 2019 permanent are facing resistance from law enforcement. Officials in West Lafayette, Indiana have failed to enact a ban twice in the last six months. And Vermont, the only remaining state with a near-total ban on police use of the technology, allowed its use for investigating sex crimes involving children last year. (INSURANCE JOURNAL)

Local Governments Turning to Other Forms of Cyber Coverage

With cyber insurers increasing their rates and coverage requirements in response to the onslaught of ransomware and other cyberattacks, local governments are turning to other alternatives. The city of Boston has opted to self-insure, budgeting funds to pay for potential remediation costs instead of paying cyber insurance premiums. Cyberattack warranties are also available from managed service providers like CrowdStrike that include ransomware payments. (GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY)

CT Enacts Comprehensive Data Privacy Law

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed the Connecticut Data Privacy Act last week. The state is now the fifth - after California, Colorado, Utah, and Virginia - to enact a comprehensive data privacy law. (JD SUPRA)

Many Top Websites Keylogging Users

Nearly 3,000 of the top 100,000 websites analyzed by academic researchers based in the European Union collect U.S. users’ email addresses as they are being entered rather than after they’ve actually been submitted and without users’ consent. The virtual keylogging appeared to be caused inadvertently by third-party marketing and analytics services. The researchers also uncovered more than 50 websites that incidentally keylogged users’ password data. (WIRED)

Senate Confirms FTC Commissioner

The U.S. Senate confirmed President Biden’s nominee, Alvaro Bedoya, to the Federal Trade Commission last week. Bedoya’s confirmation will allow the FTC to move ahead with the aggressive policy agenda expected from the agency under the leadership of its new chair, progressive antitrust academic Lina Kahn. (CNBC)

Federal Appeals Court Reinstates TX Law Prohibiting Social Media Bans

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a Texas law prohibiting major social media companies from banning users for their political views. The appeals court didn’t evaluate the law’s constitutionality, only allowed it to go back into effect while it is being considered by a lower court. (TEXAS TRIBUNE [AUSTIN])

CA Gov Orders Creation of Crypto Rules

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an executive order on May 4th that directs the state’s consumer agencies to work together to “create a transparent and consistent business environment for companies operating in blockchain, including crypto assets and related financial technologies, that harmonizes federal and California laws, balances the benefits and risks to consumers, and incorporates California values, such as equity, inclusivity, and environmental protection.” The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 37 states now have pending legislation on cryptocurrency regulation. (CNBC, NCSL)

-- Compiled by KOREY CLARK

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