The three major U.S. credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – will now allow Americans to receive free weekly credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com for a year starting April 20th 2020. These credit reports were previously only free once a year under federal law.
The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act) was signed into law on December 30, 2019. This new U.S. law will set fines on spam robocallers and requires phone companies to adapt call authentication technologies to deter robocalls. The FTC and FCC government agencies also have some instructions to reduce the number of received robocalls.
U.S. taxpayers have the option to file their income taxes for free using the Free File Program from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $69,000 or less (2019 tax year requirement). The tax preparer must start the filing process at www.irs.gov/freefile instead of a commercial tax software website in order to avoid being prompted for payment.
Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society (CIS) has an interactive map that lists Internet legal developments around the world. More information about this map can be found at the CIS map’s FAQ page.
California now has the first IoT (Internet of Things) security law in the U.S., as reported by CNET.com. California Senate Bill No. 327 (SB-327) was signed into law on September 28, 2018, and this law will become effective on January 1, 2020. The law requires IoT device makers to use appropriate security measures by design, and to protect device data from unauthorized access.
These new requirements are in addition to what is required by the new California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA).
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Act of 2018 was signed into law as of November 16, 2018. This legislation reorganizes the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a standalone federal agency in charge of cyber and physical infrastructure security.
More information is available at the Department of Homeland Security’s CISA website.
The U.S. Copyright Office issued a new ruling effective October 28th 2018 that allows exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). Section 1201 of the DMCA was used by some companies to restrict consumer and third party use of products containing software, including smartphones, computers, motor vehicles, and home appliances. This ruling allows greater legal protection for consumers and third party companies to repair and diagnose rightfully owned technology products.
Answers to some frequently asked questions on this ruling can be found at www.copyright.gov/1201/2018/faqs.html. General information on U.S. copyright laws is available at www.copyright.gov/help/faq/index.html.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that Americans nationwide can now freeze their credit reports for free. This was made possible because of a new federal law made effective on September 21st 2018.
More information about credit freezes is at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs. The FTC also requires that credit reporting agencies give consumers a free credit report once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com
The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) (Assembly Bill AB-375) was passed on June 28th 2018 and is designed to protect the personal data of California state residents. Companies worldwide must comply with CCPA by January 1, 2020.
The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) has published an in-depth analysis of what is required to comply with this new legislation.
Update: Microsoft agreed to honor the CCPA’s new privacy rights throughout the United States in a November 2019 blog post.