U.S. Hospitals must list the price they charge for at least 300 different services as of January 1, 2021 according to the new Hospital Price Transparency law. The price lists must be in a consumer-friendly display format as well as downloadable data file formats on each hospital’s website.
More resources regarding this new rule can be found at www.cms.gov/hospital-price-transparency/resources.
The Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 (TVPA) requires providers of internet, voice, mobile, and data to engage in transparent sales and billing. It also prevents providers from charging a consumer for using equipment not provided by the service provider, such as a modem. The FCC granted providers an extension for this legislation until December 20, 2020. Modem rental fees should not be charged to consumers who provide their own equipment after that date.
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.
The Free File program is part of an agreement between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a coalition of tax software companies.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require a REAL ID-compliant form of identification for all airline passengers who fly in the United States starting on October 1, 2020. More information from the TSA about REAL ID is available here.
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 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.
Digital rights groups such as the Repair Association and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have issued their own responses regarding this ruling.