Plaintiffs’ Lawyer Predicts $1 Billion Settlement in Data Breach Case – But Where’s the “Harm”?

This week, a high profile plaintiffs’ firm (Edelson) stated that “if done right,” the data breach class actions against Equifax should yield more than $1 billion in cash going directly to more than 143 million consumers (i.e., roughly $7 per person).

No defendant to date has paid anything close to $1 billion.  In fact, the largest class settlements in breach cases hardly get close:  Target Stores paid $10 million (cash reimbursement for actual losses) and The Home Depot paid $13 million (cash reimbursement for actual losses + credit monitoring).  Will Equifax be different?

Part of the answer revolves around the increasingly debated role and importance of “consumer harm” in resolving data breach disputes. READ MORE

European Court Restricts Employer Access to Employee’s Private Communications

(Editors’ note: Thanks to Orrick trainee associate, Arne Senger, for his help with this blog post.)

With its recent ruling in Bărbulescu v. Romania (application no. 61496/08), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) made a decision of enormous impact for employers in Europe. The decision makes clear that even when private use of business resources is prohibited, employers do not have unlimited access to all communications that occur on corporate systems.

Companies should carefully review their policies to ensure that they can access their corporate IT equipment, at least to the extent permitted by European data privacy law. READ MORE

Will I Get Sued After a Data Breach? D.C. Circuit Broadens Scope of Data That Gives Rise to Identity Theft in CareFirst

In the latest sign that data breach class actions are here to stay—and, indeed, growing—the D.C. Circuit resuscitated claims against health insurer CareFirst BlueCross and Blue Shield, following a 2015 breach that compromised member names, dates of birth, email addresses, and subscriber identification numbers of approximately 1.1 million individuals.  The decision aligns the second most powerful federal appellate court in the nation with pre-Spokeo decisions in Neiman Marcus and P.F. Chang and post-Spokeo decisions in other circuits (Third, Seventh, and Eleventh).  In short, an increased risk of identity theft constitutes an imminent injury-in-fact, and the risk of future injury is substantial enough to support Article III standing.

The D.C. Circuit’s holding is an important development.  First, the D.C. Circuit went beyond credit card numbers and social security numbers to expand the scope of data types that create a risk to individuals (i.e., names, birthdates, emails, and health insurance subscriber ID numbers).  Second, the decision makes clear that organizations should carefully consider the interplay between encryption (plus other technical data protection measures) and “risk of harm” exceptions to notification, including exceptions that may be available under HIPAA and GLBA statutory regimes. READ MORE

Orrick Launches Automated GDPR Readiness Tool for Companies

Today, Orrick announced the launch of our automated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Readiness Assessment Tool, which makes the EU’s new, complex, data privacy law, the GDPR, more accessible. The free tool is available to all organizations and allows businesses to stress test their compliance against the upcoming GDPR. It segments the GDPR into 14 workable themes and guides the user through a series of dynamic questions relating to each theme. Upon completion of the assessment, the tool provides a complimentary tailored report summarizing the likely key impacts of the GDPR for an organization. READ MORE

New York DFS Cyber Rules Go Live: Here’s Your Roadmap

August 28, 2017 marks the end of the initial 180-day grace period for compliance under the New York Department of Financial Services’ “first-in-the-nation” cybersecurity regulations (the “Rules”).  The initial regulations were proposed last year, but NY DFS received robust public comments that led to significant amendments.  While the proposed regulations set out proscriptive, one-size-fits-all requirements, the final Rules align more closely to flexible federal, financial sector guidance, captured in the NIST cybersecurity framework and the FFIEC cybersecurity assessment tool.  Accordingly, the final Rules require that cybersecurity programs be calibrated to periodic “risk assessments” that give entities discretion to specify the criteria used to identify, evaluate, and remediate risks, in the context of technological developments and corporate controls.

While covered entities are technically required to be in compliance with the Rules as of Monday, there are additional transitional periods for certain items (see below), and entities have until February 15, 2018 to submit their first certifications to NY DFS.  For organizations still working through compliance requirements, the below steps may help to prioritize and implement a work plan. READ MORE

Five Coverage Tips from Recent E-mail Scam Insurance Decisions

The number of decisions considering claims for insurance coverage resulting from Business Email Compromise (“BEC”) scams has been increasing, providing policyholders with some hope, and some clarity, in this muddy area.  (Here and here).

Policyholders got a recent win when a federal court in New York found in Medidata Solutions, Inc. that a data-services provider’s commercial crime policy covered an almost $5 million loss suffered as a result of a BEC scam.  The Court in Medidata found coverage under the insured’s computer fraud and funds transfer rider, reasoning that “fraudulent access to a computer system” extends to email spoofing.  Parting company with the Fifth Circuit in Apache , the Court in Medidata recognized that such spoofing can be a legal cause of the insured’s loss.  And even though an authorized employee willingly initiated the transfer, the funds were not transferred with Medidata’s “knowledge or consent.”

Despite recent wins, there remains enough uncertainty in the coverage landscape (here and here) that we suspect insurers will continue their full-on fight against coverage for these losses.  To help policyholders prepare for battle, here are five things you can do NOW to maximize insurance coverage for losses from a BEC scam. READ MORE

Insurance Coverage Dispute Over Fraudulent E-mail Scam Heard by Ninth Circuit

Data Privacy Word Cloud Insurance Coverage Dispute Over Fraudulent E-mail Scam Heard by Ninth Circuit

Insurance coverage for “Business Email Compromise” (BEC) scams is a hot issue being litigated by companies and their insurance providers in jurisdictions across the country. The Ninth Circuit is poised to issue what may be an influential decision after hearing oral argument this week in a coverage action initiated by an accounting firm that lost its client’s money to a BEC scam.  Learn more from Orrick attorneys Darren Teshima and Harry Moren at our sister blog, Policyholder Insider.

No Harm, But Foul? FTC Sues Internet of Things Maker D-Link for Security “Vulnerabilities” Despite No Allegations of Breach

Shortly after the new year, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit in the Northern District of California against D-Link Corporation, a Taiwan-based maker of wireless routers, Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, and software used in consumer electronics (such as baby monitors). The complaint alleges that D-Link failed to reasonably secure its products from hackers. Notably, the FTC has not alleged that D‑Link products were exploited by hackers or that a data breach or cyberattack resulted from any alleged security vulnerabilities. Rather, the action is based squarely on security vulnerabilities that “potentially compromis[ed] sensitive consumer information, including live video and audio feeds from D-Link IP cameras” and marketing statements made by D-Link that touted the products’ security features.

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What Did They Say About Cybersecurity in 2016? 8 Proclamations from Regulators and the Courts

We at Trust Anchor have our ears to the ground. Here are some of the most important things we heard regulators, courts, and legislatures say about cybersecurity in 2016, and what they mean for you and your organization

There is no such thing as compliance with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (FTC).
In September, the FTC dispelled a commonly held misconception regarding the NIST Framework: It “is not, and isn’t intended to be, a standard or checklist. . . .  there’s really no such thing as ‘complying with the Framework.'” The Framework provides guidance on process. It does not proscribe the specific practices that must be implemented.  Rather, the NIST Framework lays out a risk-based approach to assessment and mitigation that is “fully consistent” with the concept of “reasonableness” embedded in the FTC’s Section 5 enforcement record. Takeaway: Organizations should consider using the NIST Framework—or another framework—to guide their cybersecurity investments and program development. Use of the NIST Framework alone does not signal that an organization is secure.

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2016 Data Breach Legislation Roundup: What to Know Going Forward

2016 U.S. State Data Breach Legislation Roundup Data Breach Hacker Information Incursion Image of Confernce Table with Businessperson pointing to Data Breach on Screen

States were busy updating their data breach notification statutes in 2016. With 2016 in the rear view, let’s take a look back at the legislative changes that will impact corporate incident response processes and what those trends portend going forward.

Expanded Definition of “Personal Information”

Login Credentials. In 2016, Rhode Island, Nebraska and Illinois (effective January 2017), joined the ranks of states that include usernames (or email addresses) and passwords in the definition of “personal information” that triggers notification obligations. As of this writing, the following eight states may require notification when login credentials are compromised: California, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

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