Category

Litigation

25 April 2016

Fourth Circuit Affirms Duty to Defend Online Data Breach Allegations

In Travelers Indemnity Company of America v. Portal Healthcare Solutions, LLC, No. 14-1944 (4th Cir. Apr. 11, 2016), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit affirmed the judgment on the reasoning of the federal district court in Virginia (No. 1:13-cv-00917-GBL-IDD), holding that Travelers had a duty to defend Portal in an underlying class action alleging online publication by Portal of confidential patient medical information pursuant to two commercial general liability (CGL) policies Travelers issued to Portal in 2012 and 2013.

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29 February 2016

Having an Open and Honest Debate About Security

*This post originally appeared in Lawfare on February 25, 2016.

Let’s not pretend that that the outcome the Justice Department seeks in the Apple case is limited to only a single case and just this particular phone.

This unquestionably involves a special case. Because of the specter of an ISIS connection, the San Bernardino attacks send chills down the spine of every American. The ISIS connection makes this case different from other cases of homegrown radicalization. And the actual owner of the iPhone has consented to the search.

It is these special characteristics that make the San Bernardino case a compelling vehicle for the FBI to press its concerns about end-to-end encryption on devices and apps.  … [Read More]

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01 February 2016

The European Court of Human Rights Rules that an Employer did not Breach its Employee’s Privacy Rights by Monitoring his Email Account

The European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”)  ruled earlier this month that an employer’s monitoring of an employee’s personal emails in a work-related Yahoo account was not a breach of the employee’s Article 8 privacy rights (“the right to respect for private and family life, the home and correspondence”).  The court’s ruling was not a general approval of employee monitoring, but was dependant on several critical facts, including the employer’s policy completely prohibiting personal communications on work accounts, and the limited nature of the monitoring into only the work account.

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11 January 2016

Top Ten Data Protection and Privacy Issues to Watch in 2016

*This post originally appeared in Law360 on January 7, 2016.

While 2015 was a big year in data, 2016 may prove to be even bigger.  Many hot button and game changing topics are being debated in legislative bodies and campaign trails, regulators are focused, and privacy-related litigation continues to rise. Below, we count down the top ten cybersecurity, data protection and privacy issues to watch in 2016.

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21 December 2015

Cybersecurity Act of 2015 Signed Into Law

On December 18, President Obama signed into law an omnibus spending package for 2016 that included the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 (known in former versions as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act). After years of debate, the Cybersecurity Act establishes a framework to facilitate and encourage confidential two-way private sector sharing of cyberthreat information with the federal government and provides liability shields for cyberthreat information sharing, as well as for specific actions undertaken to defend or monitor corporate networks. The Cybersecurity Act also designates the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to coordinate cyberthreat information sharing.

The Cybersecurity Act has important implications for cooperation among industry participants and with regulatory agencies in development of effective cybersecurity programs. Public-private cyberthreat information sharing is an important step to improve companies’ defenses and responses to the changing cyberthreat landscape. Though the Act is effective immediately, the attorney general and DHS secretary must release guidelines within 90 days.

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02 December 2015

The second edition of The Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity Law Review is now available

The second edition of The Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity Law Review appears as the world is converging on more privacy laws that cover more areas of business and are subject to more enforcement. Several Sidley lawyers in the Privacy, Data Security and Information Law practice have contributed to this publication, including Alan Charles Raul, William RM Long, Geraldine Scali, Catherine M. Valerio Barrad, Yuet Ming Tham, Jillian Lee, Takahiro Nonaka, Tasha D. Manoranjan, and Vivek K. Mohan. For a closer look at this developing area of law, please visit http://www.sidley.com/the-privacy-data-protection-and-cybersecurity-law-review-11-2015.

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01 December 2015

FTC’s Action Against LabMD Dismissed Due to Inadequate Evidence of Harm; FTC Appeals

A recent ALJ Initial Decision may prove significant in data breach litigation and provide further aid to companies battling class actions with claims of future injury through identity theft.  On November 13, 2015, the administrative law judge hearing the FTC’s action against medical testing laboratory LabMD dismissed the FTC’s case in its entirety.  See In re LabMD, Inc., F.T.C. ALJ, No. 9357 (Nov. 13, 2015). The action had its genesis in an investigation of LabMD’s security practices.  The investigation began after a report that information from LabMD may have been disclosed on a file-sharing website.  The FTC asserted that LabMD had failed to properly protect sensitive data and that information gleaned from its records was being used for identity theft purposes.

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04 November 2015

EU Commissioner Jourová encourages further progress amidst Safe Harbor fall out

The 37th Annual International Conference of Privacy Commissioners in Amsterdam last week was long planned around the proposals of the transatlantic Privacy Bridges Project for a series of concrete steps to bring the U.S. and EU closer together on privacy.  But, with the CJEU’s Schrems decision blowing up the Safe Harbor bridge not long before the conference, there were many references to Safe Harbor as “the elephant in the room.”  Perhaps aptly, the logo chosen for conference was a drawbridge.

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25 October 2015

Safeguards and Oversight of U.S. Surveillance Under Section 702

In Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, the Court of Justice of the European Union invalidated the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement on the basis that the European Commission had failed to sufficiently assess the protection of personal data of Europeans under the U.S. data protection regime. The Court alluded to U.S. surveillance activities under the PRISM program authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and appeared to assume U.S. law permits mass surveillance of Europeans with few limits, little clarity, and no opportunity for redress. However, the Court did not actually review or assess the applicable legal authorities, remedies, or array of checks and balances, safeguards, and independent oversight.  If it had done so, it would have found numerous overlapping controls that assure that such surveillance is neither massive nor indiscriminate, but instead targeted to specific individuals and limited purposes, and provides legal remedies for Europeans. Indeed, prior to the scheduled expiration of the 702 program in 2017, U.S. congressional oversight committees will likely be comparing whether privacy safeguards in place for similar foreign programs are as effective as those of Section 702.

Significantly, the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board reviewed surveillance under Section 702 and found: “[T]the Section 702 program is not based on the indiscriminate collection of information in bulk. Instead the program consists entirely of targeting specific [non-U.S.] persons about whom an individualized determination has been made.” Key safeguards and controls include…

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23 October 2015

Safe Harbor Data Privacy Briefing: Your Questions Answered by Giovanni Buttarelli

Everyone is talking about the European Court of Justice’s landmark judgment that declared the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor invalid.

As a follow-up to our webinar on October 8, “What Safe Harbor’s Invalidation Means for Your Business” took place on October 20, 2015 through a partnership with Sidley Austin LLP and DataGuidance. The European Data Protection Supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, held a special Q&A session where he shared his invaluable perspective on how the CJEU’s recent judgment will impact the business landscape. Mr. Buttarelli was joined by Sidley partners William Long, who advises on European privacy law, Maarten Meulenbelt, who advises on the EU regulatory affairs, and Alan Charles Raul, co-leader and founder of Sidley’s Privacy, Data Security and Information Law practice.

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