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Posts by: Sam Castic

Financial Institutions Going First? New York Proposes Mandatory Minimum Cybersecurity Compliance Standards

Cybersecurity Standards Financial Services Institutions

Just as it promised a year ago, New York State proposed new proscriptive, minimum cybersecurity requirements for regulated financial services institutions.  The regulations go final after a 45-day notice and public comment period.  At that point, entities regulated by the NYDFS will be subject to the nation’s first proscriptive set of cybersecurity requirements in contrast to the usual risk-based cybersecurity programs mandated by other financial regulators to date.  Thus, unlike previous guidance and reports issued by financial regulators such as FINRA and the SEC, New York’s rules are specific requirements that all regulated financial institutions must adopt..  In this Part I, we review the proposed requirements, and offer some specific steps that regulated financial services institutions should begin to consider for compliance readiness.

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Is Ransomware a Notifiable Data Breach Event?

There is no doubt that companies face unprecedented volume and variation in both disruptive and intrusive cyberattacks on their networks.  Among the different attack methodologies today, ransomware is quickly becoming a major concern for CISOs and security professionals.  According to Interagency Guidance from the U.S. Government, there are currently over 4,000 daily ransomware attacks – up over 300% from the 1,000 daily ransomware attacks experienced in 2015.

Ransomware can potentially hold hostage critical corporate, customer and employee data, but in-house legal and communications teams are also concerned about whether these attacks trigger notification rules.  The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (“HHS OCR”), which enforces the HIPAA Security and Breach Notification Rules, stated in recently issued guidance that ransomware incidents may be considered a breach that require notification.  The guidance is a poignant reminder to all companies, whether regulated by HIPAA or not, to carefully consider how evolving attack methodologies can directly implicate incident response strategies and compliance obligations.

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FCC Privacy Regulations: The Next Litigation Trend?

Last month the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) closed the comment period for its proposed privacy regulations, which we previously wrote about here.  The million dollar question on everyone’s minds is whether the final regulations will be broader or narrower in scope than the initial proposal, which included not only a significant expansion of the definition of personal information, but also sweeping new obligations and raised serious questions in areas where the obligations could become even stricter still.[1]  Accordingly, companies subject to the new regulations are bracing for tighter FCC Enforcement Bureau scrutiny of broad data collection and handling practices.

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Germany Issues Privacy Guidelines for Employer Access to Employee Email and Internet Use

employee email

Can employers look at the company email accounts of employees, such as when they do not show up to work? Can employers monitor employee Internet use during working hours? Can employers read employee emails if they use the company email account for personal purposes?

Companies face these and many more questions about employer-provided email accounts and Internet access every day. To give employers guidance on this, the German Data Protection Authorities (“DPAs”) published “privacy guidelines” about using email and the Internet at the workplace. These guidelines provide essential information, practical tips and helpful advice on this topic.

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2016 IAPP Global Privacy Summit: Key Themes and Takeaways

global privacy

Last month, privacy and security professionals from around the world gathered in Washington, D.C. for the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ Global Privacy Summit 2016.  The conference focused on the new perspectives in privacy that welcome (back) the human element, the increasing role of governmental regulators in establishing and enforcing security and privacy practices, and new EU-centered developments in privacy that will likely have long lasting impacts through the industry.

We were there to take it all in, and offer these five key areas of emphasis and takeaways.

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7th Circuit Revives P.F. Chang’s Data Breach Class Action Suit

data breach

Last week, the Seventh Circuit revived a data breach class action against P.F. Chang’s restaurant in an important opinion that continues a plaintiff-friendly trend that began with the court’s opinion in the Neiman Marcus case that we previously reported on here.  The court used statements that P.F. Chang’s made in response to the breach and protective remediation measures it implemented to draw inferences that customers were at a risk of identity theft and harm, and then used those inferences to find that plaintiffs had standing to proceed with their litigation.  The case raises new issues that organizations should consider in crafting post-breach communications, and important takeaway lessons that may help increase the likelihood of obtaining dismissal of data breach class actions at the pleadings stage.

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Internet Providers on Notice: Draft Privacy Regulations Coming Soon

Internet Providers

This month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will consider issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for privacy regulations that will apply to broadband providers.  The goals and objectives of the proposed regulations, which will be offered by FCC Chairman Wheeler, are outlined in a short document that the FCC released.  The proposed regulations will likely contain strict privacy requirements that broadband providers have never before been subject to under federal law.

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