Attorney James Ward has a unique ability to add life to the often dense subject of data privacy. Ward, brother of Yext Chief Data Officer Christian Ward, gave an update this morning on what companies need to know about data privacy regulation in the United States.

The current environment involves a growing list of state privacy regulations that are gradually becoming the de facto law of the land. CCPA went into effect in 2020 and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) will go into effect in 2023. Similar laws have been passed in Virginia and Colorado, going into effect in 2023.

Ward’s key message was to be proactive and future-proof your business so that you don’t get caught off guard by new data privacy regulations.

Key Takeaways

Here are a few things that stood out from this Q&A between James and Localogy’s Dan Hight.

— Do not expect any major privacy regulations from Congress. Most of the energy around data privacy from the federal level will become from the FTC.

— The real energy in privacy regulation is at the state level. In addition to CCPA, CPRA, and the new laws in Colorado and Virginia, New York is working on similar legislation. So very soon, the nation’s two largest capital markets are likely to have robust data privacy laws in place.

— The data management decisions you making today will determine your fate. “The first company that will go bankrupt because of data privacy regulation is making the decisions now that will bankrupt them.”

— Ward said the most likely antitrust outcome is the breakup of Facebook. If it happens, it would likely come by forcing Facebook to spin off WhatsApp and Instagram. Ultimately he thinks more regulation and scrutiny is more likely than a breakup. But he said do not underestimate FTC Chair Lina Khan, who he describes as highly skeptical of big tech.

Privacy 2021

CCPA went into effect in 2020 and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) will go into effect in 2023. States like Virginia continue to pass their own laws, with the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) having passed into law in 2021. It is becoming ever more challenging for local marketers to keep pace with these changes in order to capture, securely store and legally utilize the data needed to conduct business. What does it all mean and what does the future hold?

James Ward, Ward PLLC


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