*This post originally appeared in Law 360 on October 24, 2017.
We’ve seen it happen time and again. When a company experiences a major data breach or hacking incident, media attention turns to speculation or allegations about the company’s past history of underinvesting in cyber defenses, its supposed culture of cyber complacency, or its history of unaddressed (but, in retrospect, allegedly clear) vulnerabilities. New information may come to light indicating the victimized company suffered previous breaches months, or years, earlier. Rumors of cyber-inadequacy gain currency among current and former employees and, ultimately, regulators and plaintiffs. Sometimes (but not always), these rumors, allegations, supposition and speculation even turn out to be true. (more…)
The Eighth Circuit held on August 21 that, in the absence of actual injury in a data breach case, “massive class action litigation should be based on more than allegations of worry and inconvenience.” The Court found that no customers of the defendant securities brokerage firm had suffered fraud or identity theft resulting in financial loss from a 2013 data security incident.* Kuhns v. Scottrade, Inc., Nos. 16-3426, 16-3542 (8th Cir. Aug. 21, 2017).
In a decision that is replete with great holdings and quotable language for defendants in data breach litigation, the Eighth Circuit demonstrated that even where constitutional standing is found, plaintiffs will not likely succeed if they can allege no real injury even years after the hack occurred. (more…)
On August 15, the FTC announced that it had reached an agreement with Uber to settle allegations that the company had made deceptive claims about its privacy and data security practices. The FTC’s settlement with Uber has important implications for privacy and data security measures that companies could take, and the representations they and their employees make in these areas. It also shed greater light on what the FTC means by “reasonable data security” measures that companies should implement, and underscores the importance of maintaining a robust insider threat prevention program. (more…)
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: (more…)
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…)
On February 3, 2017, Eastern District of Pennsylvania Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Rueter ordered Google to comply with FBI search warrants to produce emails stored on foreign servers as part of a domestic criminal investigation. In re Search Warrant No. 16-960-M-01 to Google (E.D. Pa. Feb. 3, 2017). This ruling comes on the heels of the Second Circuit’s decision in Microsoft Corp. v. United States, 829 F.3d 197 (2d Cir. 2016) (denied rehearing on January 24, 2017), which reached an opposite decision and held that Microsoft could not be forced to turn over user data stored on a server located in Ireland. (For more background, see Second Circuit Microsoft Ruling: A Plea for Congressional Action (August 8, 2016)).
*This article first appeared in Bloomberg BNA Corporate Law & Accountability Report on February 23, 2017
On Jan. 12, 2017, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) released its new “NACD Director’s Handbook on Cyber-Risk Oversight.” The NACD has suggested that directors can use this Cyber-Risk Oversight Handbook as a resource to “[l]earn foundational principles for board-level cyber-risk oversight” and gain insight into issues including how to:
- “allocate cyber-risk oversight responsibilities at the board level”;
- address “legal implications and considerations related to cybersecurity”;
- “set expectations with management about the organization’s cybersecurity processes”;
- “improve the dialogue between directors and management on cyber issues”; and,
- “improve and enhance boardroom practices.”
The potential liability from a material cyber-attack is wide-ranging. Accordingly, companies that experience network intrusions, system disruptions or unauthorized access to information databases must be prepared for a variety of potential consequences, each attended by its own costs…[read more]
2016 was a year of seismic changes in the global data protection and privacy landscape. Here, we look back at the top ten events and issues that shaped 2016, and are poised to shape the year ahead as well.
Year In Review
1. GDPR Adoption
On April 14, the European Parliament voted to adopt the long-awaited EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), formally completing adoption of the GDPR. The GDPR was published in the Official Journal of the EU on May 25, 2016, giving companies and Member States until the May 25, 2018 effective date to implement the Regulation fully. In the wake of its adoption, businesses should have planning under way for implementation of the significantly expanded Regulation by evaluating whether they are subject to the expanded jurisdiction, and if so, completing an internal gap analysis of current data protection practices as compared with the new requirements and rights under the Regulation. Some of the key aspects to consider include data breach response planning under the new 72-hour notice requirement, reviewing existing data protection notices and consents for the more robust obligations, identifying current profiling activities and existing data protection and retention policies and procedures, ensuring privacy impact assessments are carried out where required, and evaluating whether there is an obligation to appoint a data protection officer. Despite the time until the effective date, the extensive preparation necessary to comply presents a challenge as companies around the world refocus resources to develop compliance plans.
2. Political Cyber Warfare
There is a new front in geopolitical battles. (more…)
On December 28, 2016, former President Obama issued Executive Order 13757, Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities (E.O. 13757). E.O. 13757 amends an earlier Executive Order 13694 (E.O. 13694) of April 1, 2015, under which the President declared a “national emergency” to deal with the “unusual and extraordinary threat” to U.S. national security, foreign policy and the economy posed by malicious cyber-enabled activities conducted by persons outside the United States in relation to the November 2016 election. Through the December 2016 amendment, President Obama took “additional steps” to deal with such malicious cyber activities in view of their increasing use “to undermine democratic processes or institutions.”