Data Privacy

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

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

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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EU Proposes Overhaul to Privacy and Electronic Communications

NIS Directive

January 10, 2017 marked another important step towards reform of the EU data protection framework, with the release of the EU Commission’s proposals for a new Regulation governing privacy and electronic communications.

The draft Regulation, which goes beyond the scope of the current e-Privacy Directive in significant ways, would apply directly without the need for Member States to implement local law in the same way as the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). Like the e-Privacy Directive, the Regulation sets out rules on, among others, the use and confidentiality of electronic communications and metadata, use of cookies and direct marketing by electronic means.

The main aims of the draft Regulation are to update the ePrivacy Directive to reflect new technologies and to better align it with GDPR. In addition to taking effect on the same day as the GDPR (25th May, 2018), penalties for non-compliance envisaged by the draft Regulation are the same as the GDPR, (i.e. potentially fines of €20m or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is higher).

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Data Protection Officer and IT Manager – Two Jobs That Do Not Match

Companies required to appoint a data protection officer (“DPO” ) in Europe should carefully consider which candidate is best to select for the job. A company established in Bavaria, Germany, was recently fined by the Bavarian data protection authority (Bayerisches Landesamt für Datenschutzaufsicht, “BayLDA“) for appointing a DPO who at the same time held an operational position as an IT manager. The appointment was deemed to create a conflict of interests between the two functions. This decision could potentially influence the interpretation of the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR“) and thus influence the appointment of DPOs by international companies.

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10 German Data Privacy Supervisory Authorities Investigating Potential Unlawful International Data Transfers

German Data Privacy Supervisory Authorities Investigating Potential Unalwful International Data Transfers Global Data Transfer Map

According to a press release of the Data Protection Supervisory Authority in the Land Mecklenburg Vorpommern of November 3, German supervisory authorities have randomly selected 500 companies in Germany and sent them requests for information on their international data transfers. The German supervisory authorities are undertaking this coordinated action in order to increase awareness among companies of the need to ensure data privacy compliance of international data transfers.

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Does Your Insurance Cover Phishing Attacks and Business Email Compromise? The Uncertainty Continues…

Vendor-Impersonation E-mail Scam Illustration of Two Computers Facilitating Online Money Transfer

The coverage landscape for “Business E-mail Compromise” (BEC) scams remains somewhat tenuous, as organizations and carriers continue to battle in court over the extent of coverage. Although recent positive, policyholder-friendly trends in the Eighth Circuit (hacker who took over a bank’s computer system) and federal district court in Georgia (scheme based on spoofing a CEO’s e-mail) found insurance coverage for fraudulently transferred funds, a recent unpublished Fifth Circuit opinion moves in the other direction.  Unfortunately, this new ruling—and the uncertainty it creates—may embolden insurers in fighting coverage for these scams under crime insurance policies.

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What is the FTC Doing About Privacy and Drones?

4 Major Takeaways from Federal Trade Commission FTC October 2016 panel on drones & privacy

Last week, as part of its Fall Technology Series, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) hosted a much-anticipated workshop to explore the privacy concerns associated with drones. Although many in the audience hoped that this workshop would provide some insight into the FTC’s perspective and position on regulation of drones and privacy, the workshop left attendees with more questions than answers. We were there, and provide you with some of the key takeaways.

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