In June, Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler was elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”) and announced that his year-long presidential initiative will focus on “Privacy in the Digital Age.” State attorneys general not only enforce the privacy laws of their own states; they also have authority to enforce certain federal privacy restrictions.
Attorney General Gansler, now in his second term, has been active in using his post to scrutinize privacy issues and often describes state attorneys general as “the Internet police.” In announcing his initiative, Attorney General Gansler pledged that NAAG will spend the next year “bringing the energy and legal weight of this organization to investigate, educate and take steps necessary to ensure that the Internet’s major players protect online privacy and provide meaningful options for privacy control, while continuing to enhance our lives and our economy.”7As a part of this initiative, NAAG will hold a conference in April 2013 focusing on privacy issues. Although the effects remain to be seen, Attorney General Gansler’s initiative may lead to increased awareness, and potentially scrutiny, of Internet privacy issues among
In California, Attorney General Kamala Harris recently announced the creation of a new Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit within her Justice Department.8 This Privacy Unit will be staffed with six prosecutors dedicated full time to enforcing state and federal privacy laws. Joanne McNabb, who previously headed the California Office of Privacy Protection, will oversee the Privacy Unit’s consumer education and outreach efforts. The Privacy Unit is located within California’s eCrime Unit, which the Attorney General launched in 2011 to focus on cyber crimes.