Brandon N. Robinson, partner in Balch’s Birmingham office and chair of the firm’s Data Privacy & Security Practice, was recently quoted in a Global Data Review article regarding Instagram’s new age verification tactics, specifically through uploading photos of their ID, comparing mutual followers or uploading a video selfie to confirm how old they are.
“I think it’s a beneficial move for Instagram, it shows them being more proactive in using advanced technology that helps them comply with the law both from privacy harms and [minors] entering more adult parts of Instagram, he said. It’s unclear whether mistakes in these programs would result in liability or exposure to them rather than relying on the entered birthdate.”
Brandon noted that historically, websites not aimed at children would say they assume they are not collecting data from minors or require users to register and state their birthdate to verify their age and comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Additionally, he addressed that regulators’ ire and focus are shifting and Instagram may receive credit for its proactivity. However, Brandon noted that Instagram's new advanced steps for verifying age doesn’t clear them of all legal liabilities and the use of algorithms could expose Instagram to additional legal risks if there’s disparate impact.
Brandon counsels clients in a variety of industries regarding cybersecurity and data privacy issues to assist them in proactively managing risks while maintaining innovative customer service. Brandon counsels companies on issues that include data breach management and response, compliance with federal, state, and sectoral privacy laws and regulations, review and drafting of contracts with vendors and other third parties involving customer data and nondisclosure agreements, and the creation and maintenance of company policies and procedures. He also serves as transactional counsel on projects involving technology and data, including drones, broadband infrastructure, data application and transfers, and other emerging technologies. As part of his energy practice, Brandon also represents electric utilities and others in the energy industry on a variety of regulatory and technological compliance issues, including cybersecurity issues related to critical infrastructure protection.
Brandon is the editor of and a frequent contributor to the firm’s Data Privacy & Security Observer Blog, which provides legal updates and thought leadership on data privacy and cybersecurity issues.