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Tech Week: UT Consumer Data Privacy Law, Facial Recognition Controversy in WA & More

March 04, 2022

UT On Verge of Passing Consumer Data Privacy Law

Utah appears likely to become the fourth state to pass a comprehensive consumer data privacy law. Last month, the state’s Senate unanimously passed the Utah Consumer Privacy Act (SB 227), which is modeled after but more business friendly than the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act. The House amended the measure slightly before unanimously passing it last week, sending it back to the Senate for concurrence, which was expected to come quickly with the Legislature set to adjourn on March 4. If approved, Gov. Spencer Cox (R) will have 20 days either to sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. (JD SUPRA, STATE NET)

WA Rolling Out Facial Recognition Tech Amidst Controversy

In June, the state of Washington plans to start using facial recognition technology to verify the identity of those applying for unemployment benefits. The system it’s rolling out is already being used to root out unemployment fraud in 27 other states and, according to the company that developed it, ID.me, it has saved four of those states $210 billion.

But the IRS dropped the system last month after a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology found that type of technology led to more false positives for Asian and African American faces than for white faces. And human rights activists and some federal lawmakers are now asking states, including Washington, to ban it. (SEATTLE TIMES)

State AGs to Probe TikTok

A bipartisan group of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont announced last week that they will be investigating TikTok to determine if the short-form video platform violated state consumer protection laws. The AGs intend to examine how TikTok boosts engagement of young users and incentivizes them to spend more time on the platform. (TECHCRUNCH)

Russia-Ukraine Conflict Triggers Bitcoin Price Surge

The price of bitcoin surged last week, as much as 16 percent in one day. Some analysts attributed the rise to Russians attempting to use the cryptocurrency to evade sanctions and both Russians and Ukrainians using it to try to get their money out of their countries.

The rally came after the United States imposed new sanctions targeting Russia’s central bank, and some said Russia could use bitcoin to evade sanctions because it isn’t owned or issued by any single authority like a central bank.

Michael Rinko, venture associate at AscendEx, said if the Russian government were to use bitcoin to manage its central bank reserves all of its monetary flows would be visible to the public. Europe and the United States could “pressure the biggest exchanges — Coinbase, FTX and Binance — to blacklist the addresses associated with Russia, and then no other major exchange would want to interact with funds that originated from those addresses,” he said. “So they’d be able to freeze bitcoin funds or other crypto that touched a Russian account.”

Rinko also said the reason for crypto’s rise last week was actually investors pricing out rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. (CNBC)

Ukraine Asks ICANN to Kick Russia Off Internet

The Ukrainian government has sent a letter to the global internet domain nonprofit ICANN asking it to remove Russian domains from the web. That action, which is unlikely, would potentially cripple Russia’s economy but could also prompt Russia, China and other nations to break away from ICANN, resulting in the balkanization of the internet. (CNBC)

Visa, Mastercard Block Russian Financial Institutions

Visa and Mastercard blocked multiple Russian financial institutions from their payment networks last week, in accordance with a sanctions list issued by the U.S. government in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (CNBC)

-- Compiled by KOREY CLARK

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