The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), filed a complaint and motion for entry of a stipulated order with the Northern District of California, which would require Twitter to pay civil penalties and take other corrective actions for their violation of the FTC Act and a previous 2011 FTC Order.  The complaint states that Twitter “represented to users that it collected their telephone numbers and email addresses to secure their accounts, [but] Twitter failed to disclose that it also used user contact information to aid advertisers in reaching their preferred audiences” dating from at least May 2013 to September 2019.  Moreover, the complaint alleges that Twitter’s ‘misrepresentation’ and ‘deceptive’ actions breach the Swiss-U.S. and EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks.

The proposed order would require Twitter to:

  • Pay a $150 million in civil penalties;
  • Allow users to use alternative multi-factor authentication methods (besides telephone numbers);
  • Refrain from profiting from using collected data in undisclosed manners;
  • Inform users that their information was misused;
  • Establish a privacy and information security program that oversees risks associated with current and existing products;
  • Disclose to the FTC any future data breaches; and
  • Limit employees’ access to user’s personal data.

Twitter is not an outlier.  Instead, it signals an increased focus on privacy enforcement at the state and federal levels going forward.  Many companies may expect fines and penalties for not complying with state, federal, and international data privacy laws.  For instance, California recently updated the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) with the passing of Proposition 24, the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”), which added additional consumer privacy rights and created a new state agency, the California Privacy Protection Agency (“CPPA”).  The CPPA recently took over rulemaking authority from the California Attorney General and is beginning the rulemaking process.

Moreover, within the next twelve months, similarly comprehensive state privacy laws in Virginia, Colorado, Utah, and Connecticut will also become effective.  To avoid expensive penalties, companies should consider reviewing their privacy policies and their internal controls surrounding customer’s nonpublic, personal information and customer’s privacy preferences.  Privacy policies should accurately and explicitly reflect current business practices, and most importantly, comply with the upcoming privacy laws.

For more information about current and upcoming privacy laws, and how your company may manage privacy compliance, please contact us.

To view a copy of the DOJ/FTC complaint, click here.

To view the motion and stipulated order, click here.

To view a joint statement issued by FTC Chair Lina Khan and Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, click here.

To view a concurring statement issued by FTC Commissioners Christine S. Wilson and Noah Joshua Phillips, click here.

On May 19, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission voted 5-0 to adopt a policy statement regarding increased scrutiny of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violations involving education technology companies.  The statement reaffirmed COPPA provisions around limiting educational technology’s collection, use, retention and security requirements for children’s data. The FTC stated:

“When Congress enacted the [COPPA], it empowered the Commission with tools beyond administering compliance with notice and consent regimes. The Commission’s COPPA authority demands enforcement of meaningful substantive limitations on operators’ ability to collect, use, and retain children’s data, and requirements to keep that data secure. The Commission intends to fully enforce these requirements—including in school and learning settings where parents may feel they lack alternatives.”

The FTC states that the development and proliferation of more sophisticated technologies has raised concerns that businesses might engage in harmful conduct, which led to the FTC’s 2013 revisions to the COPPA Rule, including provisions to hold third party advertising networks liable for collection of children’s personal information from child-directed sites in violation of the Rule and to expand the definition of personal information to include persistent identifiers used to target advertising to children. The FTC further cited online learning devices and services during the COVID-19 pandemic as making concerns about data collection in the educational context “particularly acute.”

In a separate statement, President Joe Biden applauded the FTC, stating that children and families “shouldn’t be forced to accept tracking and surveillance” to access online educational products.  Biden said the FTC “is making it clear that such requirements would violate the [COPPA], and that the agency will be cracking down on companies that persist in exploiting our children to make money.”

The FTC intends to scrutinize compliance with the “full breadth” of the COPPA rules and statute, focusing particular emphasis on:

  • Prohibitions Against Mandatory Collection. Prohibitions against businesses requiring collection of personal information beyond what is reasonably needed for the child to participate in the activity.
  • Use Prohibitions. Restrictions and limitations on how COPPA-covered companies can use children’s personal information, such as for marketing, advertising, or other commercial purposes unrelated to the provision of the school-requested online service.
  • Retention Prohibitions. COPPA-covered companies must not retain personal information longer than reasonably necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected (e.g., for speculative future potential uses).
  • Security Requirements. COPPA-covered companies must have procedures to maintain the confidentiality, security, and integrity of children’s personal information. A COPPA-covered company’s lack of reasonable security can violate COPPA even absent a breach.

The Policy Statement concludes that:

“Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools. Going forward, the Commission will closely scrutinize the providers of these services and will not hesitate to act where providers fail to meet their legal obligations with respect to children’s privacy.”

To view the FTC policy statement, click here.

To view President Biden’s statement, click here.

In November 2021, non‑state issued digital assets reached a combined market capitalization of $3 trillion, up from approximately $14 billion in early November 2016.  Several global monetary authorities are exploring, and in some cases introducing, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).  On March 9, 2022, President Biden issued an executive order to mandate multiple reports and studies by various agencies around digital asset policy and regulation.

Goals of Executive Order

The goals of the order emphasize:

  • Protecting U.S. consumers, investors and businesses
  • Protecting US and global financial stability and mitigating system risk
  • Mitigating illicit finance and national security risks posed by misuse of digital assets
  • Reinforcing US leadership in the global financial system and in technological and economic competitiveness
  • Promoting access to safe and affordable financial services; and
  • Supporting technological advances that promote responsible development and use of digital assets.

Agencies Involved

A number of government agencies are given roles and responsibilities for these efforts, including 13 Cabinet departments (including Treasury, DOJ, State, and Homeland Security), all major financial services regulators, several science and technology offices, economic and policy officials, intelligence agencies, and even agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In addition the breadth of content of such reports vary widely, from considering privacy/consumer protection, to reporting on energy and climate change to creating a framework for international engagement. Each of the over 20 agencies tasked with reports under this order has a role and assignment.

Key Directives of Executive Order

The executive order:

  • Establishes a comprehensive federal framework to ensure the U.S. continues to play a leading role in the innovation and governance of digital assets domestically and abroad.
  • Directs relevant departments and agencies to initiate research into the merits of a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (USBDC). This includes agency participation in international efforts and projects; a strategic Federal Reserve plan for potential implementation; and a proposal for dollar CBDC legislation to be developed by the Attorney General in consultation with Treasury and the Federal Reserve.
  • Calls for the development of a plan to mitigate the illicit finance and national security risks posed by the misuse of digital assets. This adds to previous work to align departments and agencies to combat misuse of digital assets enabling the rise and spread of ransomware.

What Is a “Digital Asset”?

The term “digital asset” is defined in the executive order to refer to:

“all CBDCs, regardless of the technology used, and to other representations of value, financial assets and instruments, or claims that are used to make payments or investments, or to transmit or exchange funds or the equivalent thereof, that are issued or represented in digital form through the use of distributed ledger technology.  For example, digital assets include cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and CBDCs.  Regardless of the label used, a digital asset may be, among other things, a security, a commodity, a derivative, or other financial product.  Digital assets may be exchanged across digital asset trading platforms, including centralized and decentralized finance platforms, or through peer-to-peer technologies.”

While this definition appears to be focused on financial services applications, it is unclear whether such a broad definition intends to cover other aspects of the cryptoverse, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for example.

Timing and Deadlines

The executive order requires an array of reports from various agencies with differing deadlines, ranging from 90 days (e.g., report on intentional law enforcement) to 210 days (e.g., CBDC legislative proposal, financial stability report) including deadlines in between. Other reports have deadlines that are determined based on the submission of other reports.

To view the executive order, click here.

If you have questions about the executive order or a particular task, please contact a member of our Data Privacy and Security Team.

On December 20, 2021, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its draft interagency report 8403 on “Blockchain for Access Control Systems”.  As the report’s abstract states:

“Protecting system resources against unauthorized access is the primary objective of an access control system. As information systems rapidly evolve, the need for advanced access control mechanisms that support decentralization, scalability, and trust – all major challenges for traditional mechanisms – has grown.

Blockchain technology offers high confidence and tamper resistance implemented in a distributed fashion without a central authority, which means that it can be a trustable alternative for enforcing access control policies. This document presents analyses of blockchain access control systems from the perspectives of properties, components, architectures, and model supports, as well as discussions on considerations for implementation.”

This public review also include a call for information on essential patent claims (see page iv of the draft report). For more information regarding inclusion of patents in Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) publications, click here.

The draft NISTIR discusses, among other things: (a) blockchain system component and advantages for access control systems, (b) access control functions of blockchain access control systems; (c) access control model support, and (d) other considerations.

The public comment period lasts from December 20, 2021 through February 7, 2022.

To view the draft report, click here.

Comments, including patent statements from patent holder or their agents, should be emailed to ir8403-comments@nist.gov.

On November 18, 2021, the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) approved a new final rule regarding reporting of cyber incidents for U.S. banks and service providers.

Under the new rule, a banking organization must notify its primary federal regulator of “any significant computer security incident” as soon as possible as no later than 36 hours after the organization determines that a cyber incident has occurred.  Notification is required for incidents “that have materially affected – or are reasonably likely to materially affect – the viability of a banking organization’s operations, its ability to deliver banking products and services, or the stability of the financial sector.”

A “computer-security incident” is defined as an occurrence that: (i) results in actual or potential harm to the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of an information system or the information that the system processes, stores, or transmits; or (ii) constitutes a violation or imminent threat of violation of security policies, security procedures, or acceptable use policies.”

A “notification incident” is defined as a “computer-security incident” that a banking organization believes in good faith could materially disrupt, degrade, or impair –

  • The ability of the banking organization to carry out banking operations, activities, or processes, or deliver banking products and services to a material portion of its customer base, in the ordinary course of business;
  • Any business line of a banking organization, including associated operations, series, functions and support, and would result in a material loss of revenue, profit, or franchise value; or
  • Those operations of a banking organization, including associated services, functions, and support, as applicable, the failure or discontinuance of which would post a threat to the financial stability of the United States.

One commenter requested clarification as to whether a “near miss” incident would constitute a computer-security incident under the rule. In response, the rule states, in a footnote:

A “near-miss” incident would constitute a computer-security incident only to the extent that such a “near-miss” results in actual harm to an information system or the information contained within it. Another commenter stated that the definition of “computer-security incident” should be limited to information systems that can cause a “notification incident.” For clarification, the definition of “computer-security incident” includes all occurrences that result in actual harm to an information system or the information contained within it. However, only those computer-security incidents that fall within the definition of “notification incident” are required to be reported. Two commenters advocated for excluding computer-security incidents due to non-security and nonmalicious causes. For clarity, the definition includes incidents from whatever cause.

The final rule also requires that a bank service provider notify its affected banking organization customers as soon as possible when the provider determines that it has experienced a computer-security incident that “has materially affected or is reasonably likely to materially affect banking organization customers for four or more hours.” The bank service provider would be required to notify at least one bank-designated point of contact at each affected banking organization customer. If the customer has not previously provided a point of contact, such notification shall be mead to the CEO and CIO of the customer or two individuals of comparable responsibilities “through any reasonable means.”

Compliance is required by May 1, 2022.

To view the final rule, click here.

A new bill introduced by the Senate (S. 2666), the “Sanction and Stop Ransomware Act of 2021”, would require a strict 24-hour limit for reporting ransomware payments for businesses with more than 50 employees. The bipartisan bill, put forward by leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also focuses on critical infrastructure, non-profit organizations, state/local government agencies, regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges, and more.

Specifically, a Federal agency or covered entity that discovers “a ransomware operation that compromises, is reasonably likely to compromise, or otherwise materially affects the performance of a critical function by a Federal agency or covered entity” must report the discovery within 24 hours.  Additionally, a federal agency or covered entity that issues a ransomware payment must submit details of the payment, including the method of payment, the amount, and the recipient.  Reporting shall be done through an established system to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Failure to report risks being subpoenaed and referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Several industry groups have opposed the bill, stating that the 24-hour window is not feasible, and that a 72-hour window is more realistic. (Incidentally, a 72-hour data breach notification is included in the European privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is one of the strictest and comprehensive global privacy laws in the world, and after which the California privacy law (“CCPA”) was modeled.)  Some agencies, including CISA itself, have also spoken out against subpoena power, and would prefer to impose fines instead.

Other legislative proposals, which may be ultimately merged with this one, introduce different measures. For instance, the Cyber Incident Notification Act, introduced by the Senate in July 2021, establishes a similar 24-hour reporting window for any business that supports a national security function.

Other enforcement terms would include barring federal government contractors from the Federal Contracting Schedule if they fail to comply, or penalties of up to 0.5% of gross annual revenue. (GDPR allows fines of up to €10 million or 2% of the company’s global annual revenue, whichever is higher.)

A 24-hour window for reporting ransomware payments could be difficult for covered entities to comply.  Reporting a breach, much less a payment, within 72 hours can be difficult, as sufficient time is needed to determine the nature, scope, and degree of the breach itself. However, this legislation, however, it turns out, underscores the need for companies to have well established incident response plan and reporting procedures in place to act swiftly and decisively in the event of a suspected breach or ransomware attack.

To view the language of the legislation, click here.

Background

Yesterday, on September 22, 2021, the California Privacy Protection Agency (“CPPA”) — the new privacy regulatory agency created by the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (“CPRA” or “CCPA 2.0”) — issued an invitation for public comment on its proposed rulemaking.  Such comments “will assist the Agency in developing new regulations, determining whether changes to existing regulations are necessary, and achieving the law’s regulatory objectives in the most effective manner.” Thus, the CPPA invites stakeholders to propose specific language for new regulations or changes to existing ones.

This invitation for comments is not a proposed rulemaking, but an invitation for comment generally as a part of the agency’s preliminary rulemaking activities. Stakeholders will have additional opportunities to comment on any specific proposed rulemaking actions that may be issued in the future.

Topic Areas for Comment

The CPPA’s invitation includes several pages of specific questions, each categorized under the following topic areas:

  1. Processing that Presents a Significant Risk to Consumers’ Privacy or Security: Cybersecurity Audits and Risk Assessments Performed by Businesses
  2. Automated Decisionmaking
  3. Audits Performed by the Agency (CPPA)
  4. Consumers’ Right to Delete, Right to Correct, and Right to Know
  5. Consumers’ Rights to Opt Out of the Selling or Sharing of Their Personal Information and to Limit the Use and Disclosure of their Sensitive Personal Information
  6. Consumers’ Rights to Limit the Use and Disclosure of Sensitive Personal Information
  7. Information to Be Provided In Response to a Consumer Request to Know (Specific Pieces of Information)
  8. Definitions and Categories
  9. Additional Comments
How to Submit Comments

Interested parties must submit comments by Monday, November 8, 2021.  Comments may be submitted via mail or via email to regulations@cppa.ca.gov as specified in the invitation.

To view the invitation for comment and the specific questions listed in the categories above, please click here.

Background

On August 30, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sanctioned eight firms in three actions for cybersecurity failures in their policies and procedures that exposed the personal information of thousands of customers at each firm. These firms included: Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Cetera Investment Services LLC, Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, Cetera Advisors LLC, and Cetera Investment Advisers LLC (collectively, the Cetera Entities); Cambridge Investment Research Inc. and Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. (collectively, Cambridge); and KMS Financial Services Inc. (KMS).  All were registered with the SEC as broker dealers, investment advisory firms, or both. These failures violated Regulation S-P, also known as the Safeguards Rule.

SEC Prioritizes Cybersecurity

This action occurred in the midst of repeated indications from the SEC that cybersecurity is a top priority for them.  On September 14, 2021, SEC Chair Gary Gensler told a Senate Committee that:

“Today’s investors are looking for consistent, comparable, and decision-useful disclosures around climate risk, human capital, and cybersecurity. I’ve asked staff to develop proposals for the Commission’s consideration on these potential disclosures. These proposals will be informed by economic analysis and will be put out to public comment, so that we can have robust public discussion as to what information matters most to investors in these areas.

Companies and investors alike would benefit from clear rules of the road. I believe the SEC should step in when there’s this level of demand for information relevant to investors’ investment decisions.”

Details of Incidents

Alleged details of the incidents are contained in the three orders:

  • Cetera Entities Order. Between November 2017 and June 2020, cloud-based email accounts of over 60 Cetera Entities’ personnel were taken over by unauthorized third parties, exposing personally identifying information (PII) of at least 4,388 customers and clients. None of the accounts were protected in a manner consistent with the Cetera Entities’ policies. The order also finds that Cetera Advisors LLC and Cetera Investment Advisers LLC sent breach notifications that included misleading language suggesting that the notifications were issued much sooner than they actually were after discovery of the incidents.
  • Cambridge Order. Between January 2018 and July 2021, cloud-based email accounts of over 121 Cambridge representatives were taken over by unauthorized third parties, exposing PII of at least 2,177 customers and clients. The order finds that although Cambridge discovered the first email account takeover in January 2018, it failed to adopt and implement firm-wide enhanced security measures for cloud-based email accounts of its representatives until 2021, resulting in the exposure and potential exposure of additional customer and client records and information.
  • KMS Order. Between September 2018 and December 2019, cloud-based email accounts of 15 KMS financial advisers or their assistants were taken over by unauthorized third parties, exposing the PII of approximately 4,900 KMS customers and clients.  The order finds that KMS failed to adopt written policies and procedures requiring additional firm-wide security measures until May 2020, and did not fully implement those additional security measures firm-wide until August 2020, placing additional customer and client records and information at risk.

In the SEC’s press release, Kristina Littman, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, stated:

“Investment advisers and broker dealers must fulfill their obligations concerning the protection of customer information. It is not enough to write a policy requiring enhanced security measures if those requirements are not implemented or are only partially implemented, especially in the face of known attacks.”

SEC Findings

The Commission’s orders find that each firm violated Rule 30(a) of Regulation S-P.  The orders also find that Cetera Advisors LLC and Cetera Investment Advisers LLC violated Section 206(4) of the Advisers Act and Rule 206(4)-7 in connection with their breach notifications to clients. Without admitting or denying the findings, each firm has agreed to cease and desist from future violations of these provisions, to be censured, and to pay a penalty. The Cetera Entities will pay a $300,000 penalty, Cambridge will pay a $250,000 penalty, and KMS will pay a $200,000 penalty.

Lessons Learned

As the SEC continues to prioritize cybersecurity and issue enforcement actions, regulated entities should be taking the time and effort to assess the maturity of their cybersecurity governance and their compliance with the requirements of Regulation S-P. This means:

  • Understanding the information that the entity (and its vendors) process and who has access this data;
  • Protecting data through administrative, physical, technical and other safeguards;
  • Conducting risk assessments to identify those systems and assets warranting enhanced protections;
  • Implementing and testing incident detection and response capabilities and processes; and
  • Assigning clear responsibility for maintenance, periodic review, and updates with respect to the entity’s cybersecurity governance program as well as the information included in initial, annual, and revised privacy notices required to be provided under Regulation S-P.

To view the order against the Cetera Entities, click here.

To view the order against Cambridge, click here.

To view the order against KMS, click here.

On May 12, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity defenses. The order comes in the wake of the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline and numerous other cybersecurity attacks against the U.S. government and private companies over the past few years. The order proposes a wide array of changes to bolster the federal government’s ability to respond to and prevent cybersecurity attacks. The major sections of the order are highlighted below:

 

  • Removing Barriers to Sharing Threat Information – IT and OT service providers contracting with the federal government will be required to share data and information related to cybersecurity breaches that could impact U.S networks. The order requires review and updates to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and agency-specific cybersecurity requirements to meet this goal.

 

  • Modernizing Federal Government Cybersecurity – Agencies will be required to modernize their approach to cybersecurity. The order imposes requirements to reach this modernization goal, including: (a) requiring all agencies to develop a plan for implementing Zero Trust Architecture (an approach to network security that focuses on user authentication and limiting access on a need-to-know basis), (b) requiring agencies and the Director of OMB to develop a federal cloud security strategy, and (c) requiring agencies to adopt multi-factor authentication and encryption for data at rest and in transit (to the maximum extent possible under applicable laws).

 

  • Enhancing Software Supply Chain Security – After receiving input from the federal government, private sector, academia and others, the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will develop guidelines to enhance the security of commercial software. Once such guidelines are put in place, agencies will only be allowed to purchase software that meets the guidelines. Software suppliers will have to “self-certify” that the guidelines have been met and suppliers who do not comply will be removed from federal procurement lists.

 

  • Establishing a Cyber Safety Review Board – A “Cyber Safety Review Board” will be established by the Secretary of Homeland Security to assess significant cyber incidents affecting federal civilian agency systems and non-federal systems. The board will be composed of private and public sector officials and will convene after “significant cyber incidents” to analyze and make recommendations on responding to such cyberattacks.

 

  • Standardizing the Federal Government’s Playbook for Responding to Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities and Incidents – The Secretary of Homeland Security will develop a standard set of operational procedures (or “playbook”) to be used in planning and conducting cyber incident response.

 

  • Improving Detection of Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities and Incidents on Federal Government Networks – All federal civilian agencies will be required to deploy an Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) initiative. EDR is an integrated endpoint security solution that combines real-time continuous monitoring and collection of endpoint data with rules-based automated response and analysis capabilities. The goal of EDR is to proactively and quickly identify cybersecurity threats and respond to them.

 

  • Improving the Federal Government’s Investigative and Remediation Capabilities – The Secretary of Homeland Security will provide the Director of OMB recommendations on requirements for logging events and retaining other relevant data within an agency’s systems and networks.

 

  • National Security Systems – The Department of Defense will be required to adopt at least equivalent requirements for “National Security Systems” to the extent the order is not otherwise applicable to such systems.

 

To view the Executive Order, click here.

On March 17, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsome, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Senate President pro tem Toni Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced the members of the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) the new administrative agency created by the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) charged with protecting consumer privacy rights overs personal information.

“Californians deserve to have their data protected and the individuals appointed today will bring their expertise in technology, privacy and consumer rights to advance that goal,” said Governor Newsom. “These appointees represent a new day in online consumer protection and business accountability.”

The five board members include:

Jennifer M. Urban, 47, of Kensington, has been appointed Chair of the California Privacy Protection Agency Board by Governor Newsom. Urban has been a Clinical Professor of Law and Director of Policy Initiatives for the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley – School of Law since 2009, where she has held multiple positions since 2002, including Fellow, Lecturer, and Visiting Acting Clinical Professor of Law. She was a Clinical Professor of Law and the founding Director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic at the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law from 2004 to 2009. Urban was a Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Interim Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford University – Stanford Law School from 2007 to 2008. She was an Attorney in the IP Group at Venture Law Group from 2000 to 2001. Urban is a Member of the American Association of Law Schools, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Takedown Research Network, American Civil Liberties Union, and Authors Alliance. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law..

John Christopher Thompson, 49, of Pasadena, has been appointed to the California Privacy Protection Agency Board by Governor Newsom. Thompson has been Senior Vice President of Government Relations at LA 2028 since 2020. He held multiple positions at Southern California Edison from 2013 to 2020, including Vice President of Local Public Affairs and Vice President of Decommissioning. Thompson held multiple positions at the United States Senate from 2003 to 2013, including Chief of Staff, Legislative Director, and Legislative Assistant. He was a Legislative Assistant at the United States House of Representatives from 1996 to 2001. Thompson is a member of the California Science Center Foundation, Public Media Group of Southern California, and Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Leadership Council.

Angela Sierra is the designee of Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Sierra recently served as Chief Assistant Attorney General of the Public Rights Division, overseeing the work of the Division’s over 400 employees in areas related to safeguarding civil rights, protecting consumers against misleading advertising claims, fraudulent business practices and privacy violations, maintaining competitive markets, protecting consumers’ health care rights, preserving charitable assets and safeguarding the State’s natural resources and environment. As the Chief of the Public Rights Division, Sierra oversaw the Consumer Protection Section’s Privacy Unit, including the Unit’s multi-state data-breach settlement with Equifax in 2019 that resolved allegations that the credit reporting agency improperly exposed the personal information of 147 million consumers, including 15 million Californians. During her 33-year career at the Department of Justice, Sierra worked on a broad range of issues, including, police practices, voting rights, housing and employment discrimination, immigrant rights, civil prosecution of hate crimes, discriminatory business practices, disability access, reproductive rights, environmental justice, Native American cultural protection, and access to education. Sierra is also a seasoned litigator and appellate advocate with administrative law and rulemaking experience and throughout her career has worked closely with a wide array of state agencies.

Lydia de la Torre is the President Pro Tem’s nominee to the CPPA Board. Since 2017, de la Torre has been a professor at Santa Clara University Law School, where she has taught privacy law and co-directed the Santa Clara Law Privacy Certificate Program, a cutting-edge program that enables students to graduate ready to practice privacy law. She also has served as of-counsel to Squire Patton Boggs, where she specialized in privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity. She is leaving the law firm to take on this appointment, and during a short transition out of the firm, she will not be participating in any firm meetings or business related to the CPRA. Lydia de la Torre is an international expert in data protection issues generally and in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in particular. Her expertise will bring a unique knowledge to the CPPA Board and to California in its examination of these international issues at the state level.

Vinhcent Le is the designee of Speaker Anthony Rendon. Le currently serves as a Technology Equity attorney at the Greenlining Institute, focusing on consumer privacy, closing the digital divide, and preventing algorithmic bias. Le’s work has helped secure funding to increase broadband access, improve and modernize the California Lifeline Program, and create a program to provide laptops to low-income students in California. Prior to his current position, he served as a law clerk in the Orange County Public Defenders Office, the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals, and the Small Business Administration. Le received a J.D. from the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

To view the California Attorney General’s press release, click here.