English High Court Limits Scope of Privilege for Documents Generated During the Course of Internal Investigations

The English High Court recently handed down a judgment which limits the circumstances in which companies will be able to assert legal professional privilege in documents created as part of an internal investigation into potential criminal activity. The Court ruled that a claim for litigation privilege in the context of a criminal investigation will only be valid where, at the time that the relevant documents were created, the prospective defendant has sufficient knowledge about the matter to believe that there is a realistic prospect that a prosecutor will have enough material to proceed with a prosecution. The belief that a prosecutor will commence an investigation into a company is not sufficient to establish a claim for litigation privilege. The judge’s narrow interpretation of legal advice privilege also means that notes of interviews with employees will generally not attract privilege unless they provide “clues” as to aspects of legal advice given to the company.

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Money Laundering Regulations 2017: Preparing for the UK’s New Customer Due Diligence Regime

The UK is expected to introduce its updated customer due diligence regime with effect from June 26 or shortly thereafter. The changes are wide-ranging and will affect virtually all financial services firms doing business in the UK.

The Government has published a near-final draft of the new legislation. To the extent they’ve not already started, affected firms should be planning for the changes that will be required to their existing policies, procedures and systems.

In this post, we highlight the key issues for financial services firms, and propose a series of action points that they may wish to consider over the next month as they move to implement the new requirements.

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SEC Issues “WannaCry” Ransomware Alert to Broker-Dealers and Investment Companies

On May 17, 2017, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Enforcement (OCIE) issued a cybersecurity alert to the securities firms it regulates. OCIE advised broker-dealers and investment companies to take certain actions in connection with the recent WannaCry and Wanna Decryptor ransomware attacks that affected numerous organizations in over one hundred countries.  Specifically, OCIE encouraged firms as follows:

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Responding to WannaCry

*This post was originally distributed as a privacy and cybersecurity client alert on Monday, May 15, 2017.  Sign up for our privacy and cybersecurity distribution list here.

As you likely will have heard, there is an ongoing major cyber-attack involving the WannaCry ransomware. It is affecting businesses across the world and across sectors, including financial services firms, healthcare entities and even manufacturers. We are actively advising clients on cybersecurity matters, and we have recently guided clients through ransomware attacks. We have also recently authored a major report on improving transatlantic cybersecurity in collaboration with the US Chamber of Commerce.

Following the WannaCry attack, many companies and their counsel will need to consider and coordinate the following:

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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. 

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Sidley’s Third Annual Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable

On April 18 in the DC office, Sidley hosted the firm’s third annual Privacy and Cybersecurity Roundtable for over 70 clients. Speakers included a senior representative of the European Data Protection Supervisor, senior officials from the Office of the New York State Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission, legal, policy and compliance leaders from Facebook and Gannett, along with several members of the firm’s privacy, securities law and governance groups.

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