The march toward state-by-state regulation of Big Tech continues.
To that end, lawmakers in New Jersey last week proposed legislation that would toughen data privacy guidelines and limit the information that tech companies can gather (and use) from consumers in that state.
With the proposal, New Jersey joins other states such as Washington and Illinois, which have debuted data privacy legislation. Those states also join California, where its Consumer Privacy Act went into effect at the dawn of 2020.
In New Jersey, a public hearing is slated to be held on March 16, per The Wall Street Journal.
“This is all about consumer awareness and consumer choice,” said Democratic Rep. Andrew Zwicker, chairman of the Assembly’s Science, Innovation and Technology Committee and lead sponsor of the legislation.
In reference to the New Jersey legislation, the bill stipulates that firms detail how they will use any information that is collected. Consumers can also ask that their data is sent to them (via copy) or that it should be deleted.
According to the WSJ, the Internet Association, a trade group comprised of tech companies, said states should wait to see what the federal government does before passing their own legislation.
“Americans should be confident that their data is protected regardless of where they live, work or travel,” said Robert Callahan, senior vice president of state government affairs for the Internet Association. “Our message to state legislatures is that the best solution is a comprehensive federal privacy law that empowers people to understand how [the] personal information they share is collected, used and protected.”
Last week also saw arguments before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). At issue is the single directorship structure, and whether that director is too removed from the executive branch (as has been reported, the director can only be removed “for cause”).
CNN reported that conservative justices had “concerns” about the agency’s structure, while more liberal justices said the case should be dismissed because the court should rule only on matters of “ongoing controversy” – and that the court should wait until there is an actual dispute between the CFPB’s head and the president before ruling on the matter. And, reported the news site, there does not seem to be a leaning toward eliminating the agency in its entirety.
Separately, in terms of taxes, last week Amazon headed to court in Europe to seek to overturn an order handed down by the EU that the company pays $277 million in back taxes in Luxembourg. The European Commission ruled two years ago that roughly three-quarters of the firm’s business revenues went untaxed from May 2006 to June 2014, after shifting profits from a subsidiary to a holding company.
As reported, that shift ties in royalties paid by subsidiary Amazon EU on IP rights to Amazon Europe Holding Technologies. The EU has ruled that the holding firm had no employees or business activities.
Amazon said that regulators have relied on 2017 guidelines for a tax deal signed in Europe in 2003, and has also noted that the statute of limitations has expired.
Apple’s (Possible) Battery Switch
Separately, in terms of individual company news, Apple may be mandated to install user-removable batteries in earphones, iPhones and other hardware sold into the European Market.
As reported in The Daily Mail, the tech giant would be required by the European Union to install such batteries, as would any tech company that does not already do so. That’s part of a larger plan, expected to be unveiled this month, that would seek to reduce waste tied to non-recyclable tech hardware.