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March 3 Tuesday

Catalyzing Privacy Law, Margot Kaminski, JD '10, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Law

  • Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 12:05PM - 1:05PM
  • SLB Room 128
  • Open To The YLS Community Only
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The United States famously lacks a comprehensive federal data privacy law. In the past year, however, over half the states have proposed broad privacy bills or have established task forces to propose possible privacy legislation. Meanwhile, congressional committees are holding hearings on multiple privacy bills. What is catalyzing this legislative momentum? Some believe that Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in 2018, is the driving factor. But with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which took effect in January 2020, California has emerged as an alternate contender in the race to set the new standard for privacy.

Our close comparison of the GDPR and California’s privacy law reveals that the California law is not GDPR-lite: it retains a fundamentally American approach to information privacy. Reviewing the literature on regulatory competition, we argue that California, not Brussels, is catalyzing privacy law across the United States. And what is happening is not a simple story of powerful state actors. It is more accurately characterized as the result of individual networked norm entrepreneurs, influenced and even empowered by data globalization. Our study helps explain the puzzle of why Europe’s data privacy approach failed to spur US legislation for over two decades. Finally, our study answers critical questions of practical interest to individuals—who will protect my privacy?—and to businesses—whose rules should I follow?

Margot Kaminski is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Law and the Director of the Privacy Initiative at Silicon Flatirons. She specializes in the law of new technologies, focusing on information governance, privacy, and freedom of expression. Recently, her work has examined autonomous systems, including AI, robots, and drones (UAS). In 2018, she researched comparative and transatlantic approaches to sensor privacy in the Netherlands and Italy as a recipient of the Fulbright-Schuman Innovation Grant. Her academic work has been published in UCLA Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Boston University Law Review, and Southern California Law Review, among others, and she frequently writes for the popular press.

Prior to joining Colorado Law, Margot was an Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (2014-2017), and served for three years as the Executive Director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, where she remains an affiliated fellow. She is a co-founder of the Media Freedom and Information Access (MFIA) Clinic at Yale Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Andrew J. Kleinfeld of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Fairbanks, Alaska.

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