By

Edward R. McNicholas

21 November 2017

Jamaica’s New Privacy Protection Bill

On 10 October 2017, Jamaica introduced into its House of Parliament a comprehensive Bill for privacy and data protection, entitled “An Act to Protect the Privacy of Certain Data and for Connected Matters.”  The new law would cover personal data, including data in an “accessible record” such as a health record or an educational record.  If passed, the new law will be named the “Data Protection Act, 2017.”  (more…)

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16 November 2017

M&A Due Diligence: The Devil in Their Data

*Article first appeared in Corporate Board Member on November 7, 2017

At a time when a major cybersecurity incident can cost a company millions, it’s crucial that acquiring companies give cybersecurity the same level of scrutiny as they do more traditional risks and opportunities in the M&A due diligence process. Yet too many deals suffer from superficial consideration of these issues.

Why the disconnect? Unlike other areas where companies face legal and regulatory implications, in-house and outside legal teams often lack well-developed methods to analyze cybersecurity risks, too often considering them technical issues beneath the notice of the bankers and lawyers. In many cases, deal teams lack the skill sets to analyze the issues effectively and cannot even speak the language of the CIOs and CISOs well enough to spot “alternative facts.” Boards need to ensure that they or their advisers—preferably both—have sufficient skills to assess cybersecurity risks and ask the right questions. (more…)

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13 November 2017

U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Principles for Data Aggregation Services Could Have Broad Implications

On Oct. 18, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a set of consumer protection principles (Principles) designed to protect consumer interests in the market for services built around consumer-approved use of financial information. The Principles are targeted to so-called “data aggregation” or “screen scraping” services that collect customer information in order to provide financial planning or other services. Over the past few years, data aggregation services and banks have struggled to develop the right model for sharing customer account data. The Principles issued by the CFPB seek to provide a potential data-sharing model for banks and data aggregation services while protecting consumer interests.

(more…)

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07 November 2017

Hack Attack: Reducing the Risks of Stockholder Litigation Arising From Data Breaches

*This post originally appeared in BNA’s Corporate Law & Accountability Report on November 6, 2017.

Cyberattacks and data breaches are increasingly the subject of front-page headlines and can have material effects on our personal lives. And yet, reports suggest that many corporate directors and managers remain relatively unaware of important cybersecurity issues, risks, and strategies that directly relate to their organizations.

For example: imagine that your company has fallen victim to a successful cyberattack and customer data was stolen. In the aftermath, the securities plaintiffs’ bar undoubtedly will be searching for stockholders to(among other things) pursue claims for violations of state and federal securities laws and/or for breaches of fiduciary duty against the company’s board. Are you, your colleagues, managers, and directors prepared to respond to and manage this type of incident and the subsequent litigation and regulatory investigations? Have you documented your diligence in governing cybersecurity risk? For many, the answer may be no.

This article discusses the scope of this problem, how it can directly impact you and your company, and steps you can take now to help prepare for the unknown. It is certainly true that even the best cybersecurity programs cannot guarantee deterrence of all attacks. But such programs unquestionably mitigate the risk of a breach, support organizational resilience, and help control the fallout should one occur.

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06 November 2017

European Commission Publishes its First Annual Review of EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield has survived its infancy, although the October 18, 2017 European Commission report on its first annual review of the functioning of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (the “Report”) leaves uncertainty as to the long-term future of EU-U.S. Privacy Shield if the U.S. is unwilling or unable to adopt further Commission “recommendations”. The Report details the Commission’s findings on the implementation and enforcement of the Privacy Shield during its first year of operation. (more…)

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16 August 2017

SEC’s OCIE Cybersecurity Risk Alert Announces Cybersecurity 2 Observations

On August 7, 2017, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a cybersecurity Risk Alert summarizing its observations from its second cybersecurity survey of financial services firms.  Overall, OCIE observed increased cybersecurity preparedness since its first 2014 “Cybersecurity 1” Initiative, but also the SEC noted a number of areas where compliance and oversight merit attention.  Perhaps the most general observation from the “Cybersecurity 2” risk alert is that, while the OCIE noted that most firms now have written policies and procedures, the message was clear that simply having a generic policy is not adequate.  Firms must instead have policies that are adapted to their actual operations as well as procedures that demonstrate the implementation of these policies and documented results of compliance with those procedures.  (more…)

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08 August 2017

D.C. Circuit Widens the Split on Standing in Data Breach Cases After Spokeo

The D.C. Circuit recently widened a significant circuit split regarding standing in data breach cases by overturning a district court’s dismissal of a complaint for lack of standing. See Attias v. CareFirst, Inc., D.C. Cir. No. 16-7108.

Courts have long been occupied by the question of whether the mere fact of having personal information subject to unauthorized acquisition is, in itself, an injury sufficient for standing. Hopes were high that the Supreme Court would resolve the issue in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016).  In that case, the Supreme Court held that plaintiffs who allege violations of statutes that contain a private right of action and statutory damages must establish not only “invasion of a legally protected interest,” but also that they suffered a “concrete and particularized” harm, in order to satisfy Article III’s standing requirement.  Defense counsel were cheered by the restatement of the law of standing, but plaintiffs have argued that Spokeo opened the door for even the most minor of statutory violations even in the absence of quantifiable damage.  The Spokeo ruling has had substantial but unpredictable implications for data breach litigation. Federal courts of appeals have subsequently reached different conclusions about how Spokeo applies to allegations of an increased risk of identity theft following a data breach with several circuits overtly splitting over the issue. (more…)

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05 July 2017

Illinois Becomes the First State to Pass a Geolocation Privacy Protection Bill

On June 27, 2017, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill seeking to limit the collection, use, retention, or disclosure of precise geolocation data from a mobile device without a person’s prior express and written consent.  This notable bill, the Geolocation Privacy Protection Act (“GPPA”), is on its way to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk – although it is unclear if it will be signed or vetoed.  If signed, this bill would mark the first state geolocation privacy protection bill in the country—and represent the most stringent requirements related to geolocation data in the nation, potentially creating complex issues for the rapidly proliferating variety of mobile Internet of Things devices.  (more…)

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26 June 2017

NYDFS Issues FAQs for Recently Issued Cybersecurity Regulations

On June 20, 2017, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”) expanded its set of frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) and answers concerning its recently finalized Cybersecurity Regulations (23 NYCRR 500.01), which set forth minimum requirements for NYDFS-regulated entities to address cybersecurity risk.  The now 17 questions included in the release address the types of entities that fall within the scope of the Regulations, the notice requirements attending a Cybersecurity Event (as defined in the Regulations), the annual certification requirement, and additional specific elements of the rules. (more…)

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15 May 2017

President Trump Signs Executive Order on Cybersecurity at Federal Agencies

On Thursday, May 11, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at strengthening the cybersecurity of federal networks and critical infrastructure.  The order is expected to prompt a broad examination of cybersecurity vulnerabilities at federal agencies and re-orient federal cybersecurity efforts toward modernization and shared services.  The order also reaffirms the previous administration’s approach to cybersecurity protections for critical infrastructure – with increased emphasis on the power grid – and seeks to promote the growth and sustainment of the nation’s cybersecurity workforce in the public and private sectors.  (more…)

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