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Kirk Nahra Discusses Changing Privacy Attitudes of Online Consumers in U.S.

Legaltech News
December 3, 2018

Kirk J. Nahra, chair of Wiley Rein’s Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, was quoted by Legaltech News in a November 29 article on the evolution in U.S. consumers’ online privacy attitudes. The article discusses consumers’ ability to opt out of certain data uses and how their awareness and engagement in this activity is changing.

“There are lots of people in the U.S., as we start thinking about a national law, who think that there need to be some ground rules set for companies that are not dependent on a customer agreeing or not agreeing,” said Mr. Nahra.

Rules that are contingent upon an online user’s ability to “opt in” or “opt out” of a specific data use are like voting, according to Legaltech News — a vote doesn’t matter much if a person doesn’t show up to the polls. Mr. Nahra pointed to U.S. financial services laws that provide banks with ample flexibility as long as they provide consumers with the chance to opt out.

“Most consumers don’t opt out so that means the bank can do whatever they want. A law written a different way that says the bank can only do A, B and C unless the consumer opts in would dramatically alter the balance there,” Mr. Nahra said.

Legaltech News also points to the European Union’s (EU) Charter of Fundamental Rights which lists privacy in the second title. The seriousness of the EU’s stance on privacy is reflected in the body’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which Mr. Nahra characterized as taking an altered approach to balancing consumer and business interests.

“GDPR puts some controls on companies whether the consumer has any idea of what’s going on or not, and then on top of that creates some ability for consumer control,” Mr. Nahra said.

The article can be found here (may require a subscription).