By: Meghan Stoppel and Paul Connell
The National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”) held its Eastern Regional Meeting in Burlington, Vermont on October 7 and 8, 2021. Entitled “The Surveillance Economy: How Attorneys General Protect Privacy, Safety, and Equality in the Information Age,” the Meeting was organized and hosted by the Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan. A bipartisan group of attorneys general from Connecticut, D.C, Guam, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont attended and participated in the programming which was focused on emerging technologies, privacy and the role of state AGs in solving the problems associated with the information age. Cozen O’Connor State Attorney General Members Paul Connell and Meghan Stoppel attended.
State AGs from New York, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts moderated panels throughout the event and focused their questions on algorithmic bias, emerging state privacy laws, and how to best protect consumers from both an enforcement and policy perspective when faced with limited resources. While several panelists and the state AGs mentioned giving the Federal Trade Commission more resources, and even the idea of creating a new digital privacy agency, most panelists agreed that state AGs are well-positioned to handle these issues either through their existing consumer protection laws or through state-specific privacy laws. At the same time, several AGs acknowledged the need for continued collaboration between their offices, policy makers, and industry participants in order to tackle the most pressing issues related to data brokering, digital currencies, data privacy, and the increasing use of artificial intelligence by both law enforcement and businesses.