From Crisis to Opportunity: Privacy Insights for a Post-Pandemic Era

What does opportunity from a both personal and professional standpoint look like in a post-pandemic world? For many people, the traditional definition of opportunity that leads to success from a personal standpoint strictly meant working long hours at the expense of spending time with family and friends, being present in the office five days a week, and climbing the corporate ladder to obtain a high-ranking title and a corner office with a view. However, the past three years have been particularly transformative for most attorneys. Opportunities have become more available to have significantly more control over where and how we work. We have prioritized the wellbeing of our physical and mental health and have re-engaged in hobbies and interests that we might have previously set aside. From a professional standpoint, opportunity has meant prioritizing a broader learning of rapidly developing practice areas. We no longer place an emphasis on just understanding one single practice area of the law throughout our careers. Instead, we have adapted and become generalists on a greater scale than in years past.

In particular, we’ve seen a major shift of attorneys undertaking an understanding of the data privacy landscape as it now has a greater impact on other practice areas. For example, an intellectual property attorney needs to understand the intricacies of data privacy law when providing strategic guidance and representation on matters relating to data licenses and commercial agreements with third parties. When licensing protected shared data, businesses must consider who can use and/or modify the data,  how derivative data should be handled, and whether any confidentiality and security obligations apply. Similarly, when entering into a stock or an asset deal, a  mergers and acquisitions attorney needs to understand how data is collected, used, stored, shared, and maintained through company policies and procedures. This is particularly key when conducting due diligence to mitigate risk and liability of personal or highly sensitive information that is subject to stringent national and international regulations. And likewise, a technology attorney needs to understand data privacy law when reviewing and negotiating complex transactions that help clients maximize their strategic growth potential through the development, sale, and purchase of various assets across geographies, industries, and market sectors.

The developments happening in the data privacy field show no sign of slowing. It will continue to evolve as states around the country are enacting new consumer privacy laws, many of which have components and compliance requirements that are quite similar to each other on a high level. In 2023 alone, the data privacy laws for California, Virginia, Connecticut, Colorado, and Utah have already gone into effect or will soon go into effect. Joining these states are Montana, Tennessee, Iowa, Indiana, and Texas, which have adopted laws that go into effect between 2024 and 2026. At a high level, these data privacy laws affect organizations that conduct business in the state or produce products and services that are consumed by residents of the respective states. Ultimately, these laws are focused on providing consumers with greater control over the use of their data by forcing companies to bring their data collection and management practices into compliance with regulations. In the years that follow this post-pandemic era, we can expect that companies will need to continue to contend with data privacy regulations and likewise manage their interactions with consumers while still creating and providing new and innovative products, services, and solutions for the most complicated issues.

About the Author

Heather N. Bowen Pascual is an attorney focused on intellectual property (trademarks and copyrights), data privacy, regulatory compliance, commercial contracts, and technology transactions.

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