White House EO Seeks To Protect Health Information Related To Reproductive Services (Free Preview)

White House EO Seeks To Protect Health Information Related To Reproductive Services (Free Preview)
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash


The reversal of Roe v. Wade prompted a Biden Administration executive order that may close holes in the U.S. data ecosystem regarding reproductive services but will likely not affect whether private entities hand data over to state and local officials.


Photo by Amir Hanna on Unsplash

Last week, President Joe Biden signed “Executive Order on Protecting Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services” which he explained as “an executive order I’m signing to protect reproductive rights of women in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s terrible, extreme, and, I think, so totally wrongheaded decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.” The Biden Administration may succeed in pushing entities that collect health information to stop voluntarily turning over such data to other entities. And yet, the executive order (EO) is not likely to prevent state law enforcement agencies from accessing information in the course of investigations of alleged violations of abortion bans.


In the wake of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, in which the Supreme Court of the United States overturned long settled precedent on abortion rights, the Biden Administration prepared and issued an executive order designed to address likely state action to restrict reproductive rights. Among other steps, the President unveiled a list of actions “[t]o address the potential threat to patient privacy caused by the transfer and sale of sensitive health-related data and by digital surveillance related to reproductive healthcare services, and to protect people seeking reproductive health services from fraudulent schemes or deceptive practices.”

First, the White House politely asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “consider actions, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law (including the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.), to protect consumers’ privacy when seeking information about and provision of reproductive healthcare services.” Of course, FTC Chair Lina Khan and the FTC are independent from the administration and could decline to accede to this request as happened when Khan’s predecessor, Joe Simons, chose not to act upon former President Donald Trump’s EO on social media. Having said that, Khan is likely far more receptive to this request than Simons was, and her agency will probably investigate ways that Section 5 of the FTC Act may be used to protect the privacy and data of women seeking reproductive services.

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Other Developments

Photo by Vital Sinkevich on Unsplash

California Privacy Protection Agency began “the formal rulemaking process to adopt regulations to implement the Consumer Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (CPRA)” that “(1) update existing CCPA regulations to harmonize them with CPRA amendments to the CCPA; (2) operationalize new rights and concepts introduced by the CPRA to provide clarity and specificity to implement the law; and (3) reorganize and consolidate requirements set forth in the law to make the regulations easier to follow and understand.”

The United States (U.S.) Department of the Treasury invited “interested members of the public to provide input pursuant to Executive Order 14067 of March 9, 2022, “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets” especially “input, data, and recommendations pertaining to the implications of development and adoption of digital assets and changes in financial market and payment infrastructures for United States consumers, investors, businesses, and for equitable economic growth.”

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner extended “the deadline for the online industry to develop fit-for-purpose codes to provide more meaningful safety protections for Australians online.”

The United Kingdom’s (UK) National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) wrote “the Law Society to remind its members that they should not advise clients to pay ransomware demands should they fall victim to a cyber-attack.”

The European Union’s Coordinated Supervision Committee (CSC) presented “its second work programme for the biennium 2022-2024 directly after Europol came under its purview.” The CSC was “established within the framework of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and composed of representatives of the national data protection authorities of each EU Member State and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), as well as of national data protection authorities of non-EU Members of the Schengen Area when foreseen under EU law.”

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced “its compliance priorities for 2022–23, with misinformation and scams two of the seven priority areas.”

The United States (U.S.) Government Accountability Office released the following reports: “Electronic Health Information: HHS Needs to Improve Communications for Breach Reporting”; “Critical Minerals: Building on Federal Efforts to Advance Recovery and Substitution Could Help Address Supply Risks”; “Business Systems: DOD Needs to Improve Performance Reporting and Cybersecurity and Supply Chain Planning”; “Science & Tech Spotlight: Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)” “Facial Recognition Technology: Federal Agencies' Use and Related Privacy Protections”; and “Cyber Insurance: Action Needed to Assess Potential Federal Response to Catastrophic Attacks.”

The United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) published a policy paper, the “Future of compute review,” that “will produce recommendations on the UK’s compute capability over the next decade.”

The United States (U.S.) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) “has chosen the first group of encryption tools that are designed to withstand the assault of a future quantum computer, which could potentially crack the security used to protect privacy in the digital systems we rely on every day — such as online banking and email software” per the agency’s press release. NIST stated that “[t]he four selected encryption algorithms will become part of NIST’s post-quantum cryptographic standard, expected to be finalized in about two years.”

Australia’s Digital Platform Regulators Forum “agreed on a collective set of priorities for 2022/23:” “algorithms, digital transparency and increased collaboration.” The forum consists of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australian Media and Communications Authority (ACMA), eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) and Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

The United States (U.S.) Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) asked for “comments on the NRC's Fiscal Years (FY) 2023-2027 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategic Plan…[and] would like input on the overall strategy as well as the agency's strategic goals presented in draft NUREG-2261 “Artificial Intelligence Strategic Plan: Fiscal Year 2023-2027,” actions to realize those strategic goals, potential challenges in achieving the outlined goals, and how to address key challenges and external factors.”

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) published Guidelines on the Implementation of the Open Internet Regulation that establish “common rules to safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of internet access services and related end-users’ rights.”

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Further Reading

Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals” “Uber hired oligarch-linked Russian lobbyist despite bribery fears” “Emmanuel Macron secretly aided Uber lobbying drive in France, leak reveals” “‘A state scandal’: calls for inquiry into Macron’s links to Uber lobbying” “Star executive quit Uber as it faced pressure over UK tax structure” “Former EU digital chief secretly helped Uber lobby Dutch PM, leak suggests” “Uber bosses told staff to use ‘kill switch’ during raids to stop police seeing data” “The Uber campaign: how ex-Obama aides helped sell firm to world” “‘Violence guarantees success’: how Uber exploited taxi protests” — The Guardian

As Musk moves to abandon deal, Twitter faces ‘worst case scenario’”  By Cat Zakrzewski, Naomi Nix and  Joseph Menn — Washington Post

Irish Facebook Decision Adds Pressure to Reach Transatlantic Data Deal” By Sam Schechner — Wall Street Journal

Defense Firm Said U.S. Spies Backed Its Bid for Pegasus Spyware Maker” By Mark Mazzetti and Ronen Bergman — New York Times

Italy’s watchdog warns TikTok about alleged breach of E.U. privacy rules” — Reuters

Trump Lashes Out at Elon Musk and ‘Rotten’ Twitter Deal” “Twitter Assembles Legal Team to Sue Musk Over Dropped Takeover” — Bloomberg

Netflix to Its Techies: Shut Up” By Zoë Schiffer — Vulture

The Fight Over Truth Also Has a Red State, Blue State Divide” By Steven Lee Myers and Cecilia Kang — New York Times

Google Offers Concessions to Fend Off U.S. Antitrust Lawsuit” By Miles Kruppa, Sam Schechner and Brent Kendall  — Wall Street Journal

Facebook Accessed Deleted User Data, Fired Screener Claims” By Robert Burnson — Bloomberg

Japan to start jailing people for online insults” By Nicole Wetsman — The Verge

Even in Death, Internet Explorer Lives On in South Korea” By Daisuke Wakabayashi and Jin Yu Young — New York Times

The hot game on TikTok: Guessing locations on Google Maps” By Teddy Amenabar — Washington Post

Coming Events

§ 12 July

o   The European Data Protection Board will hold a plenary meeting with this agenda.

§  13-14 July

o   The United States (U.S.) National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board (ISPAB) will hold a meeting

§ 14 July

o   The United States (U.S.) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will hold an open meeting with this agenda:

§  Enhanced Competition Incentive Program for Wireless Radio Services. The Commission will consider a Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would incentivize beneficial transactions for small carriers, Tribal nations, and rural interests. (WT Docket No. 19-38)

§  Updating the Intercarrier Compensation Regime to Eliminate Access Arbitrage. The Commission will consider a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to modify its access stimulation rules to address ongoing harmful arbitrage of the Commission’s intercarrier compensation regime that imposes costs ultimately borne by interexchange carriers and their customers. (WC Docket No. 18-155)

§  Supporting Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence. The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on ways in which it can assist survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, intimate partner violence, human trafficking, or stalking through the Commission’s Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Programs. The Notice also seeks comment on how the Commission might protect survivors’ communications records with support organizations. (WC Docket Nos. 11-42, 21-450, 22-238)

§  Updating Resources Used to Determine Local TV Markets. The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would begin the process of updating its rules to use the most up-to-date market information for determining a television station’s local market for carriage purposes. (MB Docket No. 22-239)

§  Removing Obsolete Analog-Era Provisions from Part 74 Rules. The Commission will consider an Order and Sixth Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would amend its Part 74 rules for low-power television and television translators to remove obsolete rules for analog TV operations. (MB Docket No. 03-185)

§  Enforcement Bureau Action. The Commission will consider an enforcement action.

o   The United States (U.S.) Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Advancing National Security and Foreign Policy Through Export Controls: Oversight of the Bureau of Industry and Security.”

o   The United States (U.S.) Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Protecting the Homeland from Unmanned Aircraft Systems.”

§ 19 October

o   The United States (U.S.) Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a virtual event “to examine how best to protect children from a growing array of manipulative marketing practices that make it difficult or impossible for children to distinguish ads from entertainment in digital media.”

§ 1 November

o   The United States (U.S.) Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold PrivacyCon.