Virginia Passes CDPA; NFL Demands Higher TV Rights Fees

In today's ExchangeWire news digest: Virginia passes the Consumer Data Protection Act, making it the second US state after California to impose such legislation; the NFL pushes for TV networks to pay more to cover games; and an EU consumer group accuses TikTok of violating users' rights.


Customer Data Protection Act passed in Virginia

The Customer Data Protection Act (CDPA) has been passed into law in Virginia, making the state the second in the US to implement such legislation. Signed by governor Ralph Northam yesterday (2nd March), the CDPA will come into force on 1st January 2023, the same day as the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA).

The Virginia bill will apply to any entities that operate or conduct business in the state, or who offer products or services to state residents. Companies that process the personal data of 100,000 or more Virginians each year will also be subject to the law, as will those whose processing or sale of 25,000 or more Virginians’ personal data accounts for at least 50% of their annual gross revenue.

Unlike California’s preceding CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), for which the CPRA serves as an amendment, the CDPA does not stipulate an applicability threshold, and will therefore apply to businesses that meet the above criteria regardless of their annual turnover. Moreover, the CDPA is an opt-in law, meaning that businesses will need to prove that they received informed consent to process a consumers’ personal data. The legislation will also provide Virginia residents with a number of new rights, including the right to receive the personal information companies have collected from them, the right to have this data deleted, and the right to opt-out of any kind of profiling.

The CDPA is set to provide tighter protections for consumers than CCPA, which is an opt-out law and promises fewer rights. However, the move points to a growing desire from the US government to regulate data collection and use.


NFL pushes for higher TV rights fees

The US’s National Football League (NFL) are setting a higher price tag for TV coverage of their games. The sports body has reportedly pushed for deals worth up to double the value of those previously struck with their network partners as initial negotiations get underway.

The move follows a rocky year for the NFL, and live sports generally, with most major events cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 and regular viewership falling 7%. However, 2020 ended up being far from disastrous for the NFL, for whom national TV advertising revenue grew 16% from USD $4.5bn (£3.2bn) in 2019 to USD $5.2bn (£3.7bn).

Whilst the demand for higher payment will be unwelcome to networks, Walt Disney-owned ESPN will likely be most perturbed by the move. The broadcaster has already forked out more than their competitors for NFL coverage, paying USD $1.9bn (£1.4bn) a year in a 10-year-deal to air the “Monday Night Football” programme. With the deal set to expire at the end of the 2021 football season, ESPN will no doubt be unreceptive to the prospect of paying USD $3.8bn (£2.7bn) to resume their deal.


TikTok accused of violating EU consumer rights

TikTokA European consumer rights group has accused TikTok of breaching EU legislation. The European Commission Organisation (BEUC) claim that the short-form video app has violated users’ rights “on a massive scale”, and has been inadequate in protecting children from inappropriate content and hidden advertising on the platform.

Amongst the allegations levied by the BEUC are that TikTok’s terms of service are “unfair”, as they are “unclear, ambiguous and favour TikTok to the detriment of its users”. The body also criticised the app’s copyright terms for giving TikTok ownership of user-made content without compensating the creators.

The group has filed an official complaint with the EU’s collective of consumer protection authorities, with BEUC director general Monique Goyens urging them to “take swift action” to ensure that all users, particularly children, are protected when they use the platform.

Responding to the allegations, a TikTok spokesman said that the company take their users’ safety and legal compliance “incredibly seriously”. The spokesman also asserted that the platform has steps in place to safeguard users' privacy, “including making all accounts belonging to users under 16 private by default” and providing an easy-to-read summary of their terms of service on the app.

After a tumultuous 2020, the trouble may be far from over for TikTok.