U.S. privacy law is undergoing dramatic change on an accelerating pace. New laws across the country address specific industries, certain kinds of data, and various concerning practices. There is international pressure to improve the state of U.S. privacy law. At the same time, technological progress also is accelerating, leading to more personal information being gathered in more places by more entities. The essay reviews the current state of U.S. privacy law and how these changes may play out in the near future. We expect to see a continuing array of new “comprehensive” state laws, creating some new privacy protections while imposing new compliance challenges on industry. We are seeing regulators at both the state and federal levels explore creative new enforcement approaches, while navigating meaningful limits on their authority. We are seeing the U.S. Congress struggle to find a role in this overall debate, as there has been little movement on a national privacy law. All in all, privacy law is undergoing almost constant change at this moment in time, creating a broad range of challenges and opportunities for regulators, legislators and entities of all shapes and sizes.

By Kirk J. Nahra[1]

I. INTRODUCTION

Not to be too technical about it, but privacy law in the United States is a bit of a mess. While, unlike the European Union, the United States does not have a single dominant privacy law, we instead have dozens, maybe hundreds. This morass of different l

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