By

Colleen Theresa Brown

14 March 2019

FTC Announces Record-Setting $5.7M COPPA Penalty

On February 27, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a record-setting $5.7 million civil penalty against makers of the popular free video creation and sharing app, Musical.ly (now known as TikTok), for violations of U.S. children’s privacy rules. This is the largest civil penalty the FTC has issued concerning violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).

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26 February 2019

NERC $10,000,000 Fine of Public Utility Highlights the Need for Cybersecurity Preparedness and CIP Compliance Programs

On January 25, 2019, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) to approve a settlement issuing a record $10 million fine against an unidentified utility resulting from violations of critical infrastructure protection standards (“CIP”) occurring mostly between 2015 and 2018 (referred to hereafter as the “Settlement Agreement”).  Although none of the violations resulted in any reported outages, NERC concluded that the cumulative effect of the violations posed a serious risk to the reliability of the bulk U.S. power grid because “many of the violations involved long durations, multiple instances of noncompliance, and repeated failures to implement physical and cyber security protections.” Settlement Agreement at 12.

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06 February 2019

First Multistate HIPAA Data Breach Lawsuit May Signal Increased State Interest in Data Security Enforcement

On December 3, 2018, twelve attorneys general (“AGs”) jointly filed a data breach lawsuit against Medical Informatics Engineering and its subsidiary, NoMoreClipboard LLC (collectively “the Company”), an electronic health records company, in federal district court in Indiana.  See Indiana v. Med. Informatics Eng’g, Inc., No. 3:18-cv-00969 (N.D. Ind. filed Dec. 3, 2018).  The suit—led by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill—is joined by AGs from Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina and Wisconsin.  While state AGs have previously exercised their civil enforcement authorities under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), this is the first multi-state data breach lawsuit alleging HIPAA violations in federal court and may signal increased interest on the part of state officials in exercising their data protection authorities to address cybersecurity incidents.

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03 January 2019

Spain’s New Data Protection Act Now in Force

When the GDPR came into effect on May 25, 2018, several European Member States had yet to put in place further implementing legislation.  And while the data protection world watches and eagerly digests each new interpretive guidance from data protection authorities, Member State legislation provides additional interpretive tones of harmony or discord in data protection across Europe.  After much delay and almost seven months after the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) came into force, the Organic Law 3/2018 on the Protection of Personal Data and Guarantee of Digital Rights (“LOPDGDD”) – which implements the GDPR in Spain – entered into force on 7 December 2018. (more…)

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27 December 2018

Debate Continues on the Future of U.S. Privacy Regulation from California to Capitol Hill

With the midterm election out of the way, legislators on Capitol Hill and in state capitols are getting ready to consider the future of data privacy regulation in 2019 and consumer and industry groups continue to weigh in on the ongoing debate.  The debate has begun to move from principles and frameworks to drafting of legislative language.

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30 November 2018

EDPB Issues Long-Awaited Guidance on Territorial Scope of the GDPR

On November 23, 2018, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) published draft guidelines seeking to clarify the territorial scope of the GDPR (“Guidelines”).  The Guidelines have been eagerly awaited, particularly by controllers and processors outside of the EU looking for confirmation as to whether or not the EU data protection rules apply to them.  The Guidelines largely reaffirm prior interpretations of the GDPR’s territorial application under Article (3)(1), and offer essential guidance with respect to the GDPR’s – heavily debated – extraterritorial application under Article (3)(2).  The GDPR applies to companies established in the EU as well as companies outside of the EU that are “targeting” individuals in the EU (by offering them products or services) or monitoring their behavior (as far as that behavior takes place in the EU).

The proposed Guidelines are open for public consultation until January 18, 2019.  It remains to be seen whether and how any outstanding issues will have been addressed upon conclusion of the consultation. (more…)

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05 November 2018

U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Third Round of Guidance on Automated Vehicles

Rapid advances in automation have the potential to disrupt a number of sectors, perhaps none more so than the automobile industry. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has accordingly announced its intention to take “active steps to prepare for the future by engaging with new technologies to ensure safety without hampering innovation.” Most recently, on October 4, 2018, DOT issued Preparing for the Future of Transportation: Automated Vehicles 3.0 (AV 3.0), its third round of guidance on the topic. Like its 2017 predecessor, “Automated Driving Systems 2.0: A Vision for Safety,” AV 3.0 emphasizes the development of voluntary, consensus-based technical standards and approaches while noting that there are cross-cutting policy issues where federal leadership may be necessary. AV 3.0 also builds on its predecessors by emphasizing that it reflects the view of all of DOT’s operating administrations; by providing much more detailed guidance on the development and testing of automated vehicle technologies; and by announcing some specific regulatory steps DOT plans to take in the near future. (more…)

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01 November 2018

Ohio Law Recognizes Safe Harbor in Data Breach Litigation

Companies with robust cybersecurity programs may still be vulnerable to attack. A new, first-of-its-kind law in Ohio now recognizes this fact. On November 1, 2018, the Ohio Data Protection Act (SB 220) establishes a safe harbor from state tort actions in data breach cases for entities that have developed an information security program with “administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for the protection of personal information and that reasonably conforms to an industry recognized cybersecurity framework.” Without establishing minimum cybersecurity standards, the Ohio law affords defendants an “affirmative defense” against state tort actions and establishes an important precedent that may serve as a model for other states and the federal government to follow. (more…)

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26 September 2018

Developing IoT Policy from California to Washington, D.C.

The growing network of internet of things (IoT) devices is expected to reach 30 billion devices by 2020. Despite this tremendous growth, the state of IoT regulation is patchwork at best. Although the FTC is the primary security regulator for consumer IoT devices, there are no comprehensive regulations or laws specific to the unique challenges of the IoT market. This absence of clear and unambiguous standards can be a burden for IoT companies who are looking to innovate while maintaining their customers’ privacy.  (more…)

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05 September 2018

Clean-Up Bill Advances to Amend the New California Consumer Privacy Act

On Friday, August 31, the California legislature unanimously passed a host of “clean-up” amendments to the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), AB 375, as it set about addressing flaws and other concerns in the state’s groundbreaking data privacy law. These amendments are now awaiting Governor Brown’s signature. (more…)

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