Every year new laws governing technology are introduced. It’s difficult to stay on top of the changes and remain compliant, so here are a few of the laws that everyone with any interest in tech should watch.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a law that requires website owners to be upfront about all data collected from website visitors, and to provide those visitors with methods of viewing, deleting or opting out of the data. This law has been followed up with similar rulings in Virginia, Colorado, and Connecticut.
“At least fifteen state legislatures are poised to consider CCPA-like consumer privacy legislation in 2022 with lawmakers in Arizona, Connecticut*, Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Washington confirming they will be introducing bills, a bill already being pre-filed in Maryland, and eight states with bills that will carry over from the 2021 session.” (https://www.bytebacklaw.com/2022/01/which-states-will-consider-ccpa-like-consumer-privacy-bills-in-2022/)
The privacy regulations run alongside GDPR for any organization that conducts business in Europe and the US.
Dozens of bills concerning internet platforms have been drafted, especially for Facebook and YouTube. Lawmakers are hoping to force Facebook and others into regulating the use of the platforms in order to protect the health of users, especially minors.
A former Facebook employee recently gave a damning testimony that Facebook leadership knew about the dangers the platform poses, and consistently put profits ahead of protecting users. The employee is working with others to overturn Section 230 and ensure that Facebook stops creating algorithms that offer harmful content above other content.
Websites should be accessible to all, including those with disabilities. That seems obvious, but the law is less clear.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines were introduced in 1995 and updated in 2008, 2018, and 2021.These guidelines lay out the ways that websites should be designed to allow anyone to “read” the site. The guidelines include having every element on the site clearly defined so that bots can read the site out loud and separating interactive elements to ensure easy clicking.
“Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was added in 1998 to require federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities, including both employees and members of the public. In 2017, Section 508 was revised with the requirement that by January, 2018, all federal agencies and contractors must, among other revisions, comply with WCAG 2.0 A/AA.” (https://www.boia.org/blog/is-there-a-legal-requirement-to-implement-wcag)
While the law is clear for government agencies and their contractors, it is a little hazy for public and private companies. The incidents of lawsuits being brought against companies for violating the American with Disabilities Act are rising. It is expected that WACG2 will be a topic raised as part of this year’s midterm elections.
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