On February 22, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appointed Jonathan Mayer as the Justice Department’s inaugural Chief Science and Technology Advisor and Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer. Mayer will sit in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy and lead the Department’s newly established Emerging Technologies Board which coordinates and governs AI and other emerging technologies across the Department. Mayer will also build a team of technical and policy experts in cybersecurity and AI. The Chief AI Officer position is a role required by President Biden’s Executive Order on AI. Mayer is an assistant professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University and served as the technology law and policy advisor to then-Senator Kamala Harris as well as the chief technologist to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau. Continue Reading Justice Department Hire’s First Chief AI Officer
In separate public speeches, senior officials from the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission warned of harsh penalties against individuals and companies misusing AI for fraudulent purposes.Continue Reading DOJ and SEC Officials Issue Harsh Warnings Concerning the Misuse of AI
On October 24, the FTC and the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a $1.1 million settlement with a group of Wisconsin auto dealers for allegedly charging customers illegal junk fees and unlawfully discriminating against American Indian customers. The action was brought under the FTC Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and the Wisconsin Consumer Act.Continue Reading FTC and Wisconsin DOJ Agree to $1.1M Settlement with Auto Dealers over Unlawful Junk Fees and Discrimination Against American Indian Customers
On October 31, a federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri found the defendants, a trade association, which represents residential and commercial real estate industries, and multiple residential brokerages liable for $1.8 billion in damages for conspiring to artificially inflate commissions on home sales. Continue Reading Federal Jury: Trade Association and Real Estate Brokerages Conspired to Inflate Commissions, $1.8B in Damages to Plaintiffs
On October 12, the CFPB and DOJ issued a joint statement that reminds financial institutions that all credit applicants are protected from discrimination on the basis of their national origin, race, and other characteristics covered by the ECOA, regardless of their immigration status. According to the CFPB and DOJ, the statement was issued because consumers have reported being rejected for credit cards as well as for auto, student, personal, and equipment loans because of their immigration status, even when they have strong credit histories and ties to the US and are otherwise qualified to receive the loans.Continue Reading CFPB, DOJ Joint Statement: Financial Institutions May Not Use Immigration Status to Illegally Discriminate Against Credit Applicants
Retailers continue to be targeted by website accessibility lawsuits. Unfortunately, the legal landscape remains unpredictable and it varies greatly based on what jurisdiction a retailer is sued in. There remains no easy fix to prevent litigation. Plaintiff’s lawyers argue that “inaccessible” websites or mobile apps fail to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act or similar state civil rights laws. However, there are no set of detailed website accessibility standards or regulations and instead, the Department of Justice’s position has been that the Americans with Disabilities Act’s general nondiscrimination and effective communication provisions apply to web accessibility. The Department has directed that businesses look to existing technical standards for website accessibility including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Section 508 Standards, which the federal government uses for its own websites. And despite the absence of formal website accessibility standards, the Department has continued to file enforcement actions against businesses who operate websites that it deems inaccessible.Continue Reading Website Accessibility Litigation Continues to be Costly and There is No Easy Fix
On July 27, the CFPB and DOJ proposed a settlement with a nonbank mortgage lender for its discriminatory “redlining” lending practices against minority families living in the greater Philadelphia area. If approved by the court, the mortgage lender would be required to pay more than $22 million in civil penalties, and would be the CFPB’s first nonbank mortgage redlining settlement.
Continue Reading CFPB, DOJ Propose $22 Million Penalty Against Nonbank Mortgage Lender for Illegal Redlining
On June 3, a federal court filing in the Southern District of Florida by an Atlanta-based FinTech company revealed that the small business lender is under DOJ investigation for alleged PPP loan approval practices. According to the FinTech, by August 2020, it processed over $7 billion in PPP loans to at least 300,000 small businesses.
Continue Reading DOJ Investigating FinTech Over PPP Loans
On June 30, the DOJ charged six individuals in four separate cases for a fraudulent NFT trading scheme.
Continue Reading DOJ Charges Six Individuals with NFT Fraud
The CFPB and DOJ, in cooperation with the OCC, filed a complaint and proposed consent order last week in the Western District of Tennessee against a national bank alleging that the bank violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and its implementing regulation, Regulation B, and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA). Specifically, the joint complaint alleges that the bank:
Continue Reading CFPB, DOJ and OCC Take Action Against National Bank for Alleged Redlining
The Department of Justice is aggressively scrutinizing participants in the cryptocurrency markets—including “financial institutions working with cryptocurrency”—to thwart the use of the technology as a vehicle for money laundering and other illegal activity.
Continue Reading The Department of Justice Sets Cryptocurrency Squarely in its Sights