Federal Judge Finds No General Obligation for Companies To Protect Employee Data

In a ruling on March 31, Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co. (E.D. Pa. Mar. 31, 2017), Hon. Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, dismissed a proposed class action on behalf of 74,000 Coca-Cola employees. The proposed suit was brought by a former Coca-Cola technician who claimed that his identity was stolen after a laptop with his unsecured sensitive employee information fell into the public’s hands.

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EU Lawmakers Say That Privacy Shield Deficiencies Must Be Fixed Urgently

On 6th April, 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution stating that there are deficiencies in the EU-US data transfer accord Privacy Shield which must be “urgently resolved” in order to give citizens and companies legal certainty. MEPs called on the EU Commission to conduct an assessment and to ensure that the Privacy Shield complies sufficiently with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and new EU data protection rules.

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Proposed Strengthening of Singapore Cybersecurity Law

In keeping with Singapore’s recent emphasis on strengthening national cybersecurity protections, on March 9, 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced proposed amendments to the existing Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA). The proposed amendment, Bill No. 15/2017, would broaden the scope of the CMCA by criminalizing certain conduct not covered by the existing law and enhancing penalties in certain situations.

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New Mexico Enacts Breach Notification and Data Security/Secure Disposal Law, While Tennessee Clarifies Encryption Exception

New Mexico has become the 48th state to enact a data breach notification law, which also includes data security requirements. The Data Breach Notification Act, signed by Governor Martinez on April 6, 2017, requires notification within 45 days of discovery of a security breach, or “unauthorized acquisition” of computerized personal information, subject to the needs of law enforcement. A security breach is also limited to unencrypted data or encrypted data when the decryption key is compromised. Personal data protected by the law includes Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, government-issued identification numbers, account, credit card or debit card number paired with the security code or other pin, and biometric data.

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The Widening Data Breach Standing Split: Fourth Circuit Finds No Standing From Increased Risk of Future Identity Theft

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has added to the growing circuit split on standing in data breach cases in Beck v. McDonald, No. 15-1395 (Feb. 6, 2017). The circuit split now divides at least six federal courts of appeal regarding what data-breach victims must show to establish an “injury-in-fact” under Article III. The Fourth Circuit held that merely having your personal data stolen — and the alleged corresponding increased risk of future theft—is insufficient to satisfy Article III’s injury-in-fact requirement.

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A Farewell to the FCC Broadband Privacy Rules

On April 3, 2017, President Trump signed the bill repealing the Federal Communications Commission’s much-debated broadband privacy rules. The House of Representatives voted 215–205 to disapprove the rules, after a party-line Senate vote of 50–48. The result is that the FCC’s key rules governing internet service providers’ collection and use of consumer data, as well as data security, will not go into effect as scheduled. Moreover, the FCC will be precluded from promulgating any regulation in “substantially the same” form until a future Congress allows such action.

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Italian DPA Imposes Largest Ever Fine Imposed by a European Data Protection Authority: UK Payments Company Found to Have Breached Consent and Other Rules

On February 2, the Italian Data Protection Authority, known as the “Garante,” imposed a fine of EUR 5,880,000 on a UK money transfer company that it found to be in violation of Italian data privacy rules. This is the largest ever publically-known fine imposed by an EU data protection authority, and it approaches the level of fines that are likely to be imposed under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) that will come into force in May 2018. Although the GDPR is not yet in force, the Garante’s enforcement action shows that European data protection authorities are willing to levy the kind of fines allowed by the GDPR.

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