ICO Issues Data Protection and Coronavirus Guidance

In light of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the ICO has today issued guidance on “Data protection and coronavirus: what you need to know” for data controllers. The ICO has also published advice for healthcare practitioners. Guidance has also been issued by many other Data Protection Authorities in other European countries.

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Coronavirus Risks – U.S. and European Employment and Privacy Law Issues

This post seeks to help parties navigate issues arising from COVID-19 risks from an employment and privacy law perspective in both the United States and Europe.

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) presents significant issues for employers to navigate and significant consequences for employees across industries as COVID-19 reduces consumer spending, disrupts supply chains and presents challenges for managing workforces globally. Employers should be aware of their responsibilities and proactively put in place action plans to address this growing problem. Designing these plans, and addressing requested or mandated leaves and other restrictions on employee work, presents myriad employment law issues that may vary by jurisdiction. Employers are also likely to confront privacy questions as they seek information on employees’ and others’ health and travel across jurisdictions. In developing a plan, employers will want to consider these issues in a holistic and coordinated manner.

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Blockchain: Poised to Transform Business

Listen to The Sidley Podcast for an informative discussion of how blockchain, digital assets and virtual currencies are changing the way we transact

Blockchain technology has the ability to transform how business and everyday commercial transactions are conducted across industries. This emerging technology represents more than just an incremental improvement in business practices — it could actually disrupt how we do business. What is blockchain, how will it affect the way we communicate and transact with each other and why are cryptocurrencies being used in conjunction with this technology?

We get answers to these questions and many others in the latest episode of The Sidley Podcast. Podcast host and Sidley partner Sam Gandhi speaks with Lilya Tessler, a partner in the firm’s New York office, who focuses her practice on the corporate and regulatory aspects of blockchain technology.

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CJEU Considers the Use of CCTV and Legitimate Interests

With the use of CCTV on the rise, it has become increasingly important for controllers to find a framework in which the conflicting rights of those who are subject to such surveillance are balanced. In its recent decision of TK v Asociaţia de Proprietari bloc M5A-ScaraA EU:C:2019:1064 (TK), the CJEU considered whether the processing carried out by CCTV cameras was necessary and proportionate for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the controller.

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DoD Issues Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Version 1.0

On January 31, 2020, the Department of Defense released its latest version of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (“CMMC”) for defense contractors.  Under the CMMC plan, DOD contractors will be required to obtain a cybersecurity rating from Level 1 through Level 5.  Self-certification will not be permitted.  Given the significant investment of industry resources the CMMC may require, the DOD eased some concerns by announcing that it would roll out the CMMC program out in stages.  A new Defense federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (“DFARS”) clause is expected in the spring of 2020, and CMMC requirements are anticipated to be included in certain limited Requests for Information released starting June 2020.  Ultimately, all DOD contracts will include a minimum cybersecurity requirement by 2026.

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SEC and FINRA Issue 2020 Examination Priorities for Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently published their examination priorities (together, the Examination Priorities) for the 2020 calendar year.1 In general, the 2020 Examination Priorities continue recurring themes from recent prior years.

OCIE’s 2020 Examination Priorities for broker-dealers and investment advisers include the protection of retail investors (including compliance with new standard of care requirements and interpretations), cyber and information security risks, anti-money laundering compliance, firms engaging in the digital asset space and the provision of electronic investment advice.

FINRA’s 2020 Examination Priorities for member firms include those generally identified by OCIE for registered broker-dealers, as well as cash management and bank sweep programs, initial public offerings, liquidity management, trading authorizations and order routing and vendor display rule requirements, among others.

This Sidley Update summarizes selected aspects of the Examination Priorities that may be of particular interest to broker-dealers and investment advisers. As always, firms should use the 2020 Examination Priorities to review their compliance and supervisory procedures carefully and make any necessary revisions. Firms also should be prepared to explain their compliance and supervisory policies in these areas in their upcoming SEC and/or FINRA examinations, as applicable, and provide documentation of relevant reviews.

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SEC Commissioner Peirce Proposes Blockchain Token Safe Harbor

On February 6, 2020, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) Commissioner Hester M. Peirce (Commissioner Peirce) gave a speech describing the need for more clarity on application of the securities laws to the offer and sale of blockchain tokens or digital assets. As part of the speech, she proposed a safe harbor (Proposal or Safe Harbor) exempting certain tokens from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) and Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act), including an exemption for persons engaging in certain transactions with respect to such tokens from the definitions of “exchange,” “broker” and “dealer” under the Exchange Act. The Proposal is of significance to any existing or future blockchain development team considering the distribution of tokens, as well as any digital asset exchange or over-the-counter desk that facilitates transactions in digital assets, blockchain tokens or virtual currencies.

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