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Companies are struggling to understand how to comply with rapidly changing and sometimes conflicting privacy obligations. For entities outside of the U.S. seeking to do business in the States, approaching and understanding the patchwork of state and federal privacy laws can be daunting, especially since U.S. privacy laws vary depending on the type of activities in which companies engage, the individuals from whom they gather or use information, and the industry in which the company operates. While there are some “general” privacy laws (notably in California and Virginia) those are the exception rather than the rule.

Rather than think about legal requirements on a law-by-law basis, it can be helpful to group obligations by activity. In this episode, Liisa Thomas discusses ways to approach these requirements, and the support the recent treatise, Thomas on Big Data: A Practical Guide to Global Privacy Laws released by Thomson Reuters, provides for organizations. She goes into detail about global privacy laws (including all 50 states across America), covering telemarketing, email marketing, wiretap and eavesdropping, biometric children's privacy, spyware and adware and online privacy.

Liisa Thomas obtained her undergraduate degree from Haverford College, and received her Juris Doctorate from University of Chicago. Liisa leads the privacy and cybersecurity team at Sheppard Mullin and practices in both the Chicago and London offices. She coordinates global policy in the area of privacy, and has taught at many universities including Northwestern University.

What We Discussed in This Episode:

  • Why did you publish your new book?
  • What restrictions exist when collecting personal information and what notices need to be given?
  • What type of choices should individuals be provided about how their information is used, and do those choices need to be affirmative (opt-in) or retroactive (opt-out)?
  • How can companies use information -- can they send marketing emails or text messages?
  • Why can’t we create singularity in laws moving forward?