Seventh Circuit Allows Data Breach Class Action to Proceed Against Neiman Marcus, Despite Lack of Current Harm to Credit Card Holders

Data breaches are often followed by class action suits in which the affected individuals seek damages. Corporations defending against such suits have used a 2013 Supreme Court case, Clapper v. Amnesty International, 133 S. Ct. 1138 (2013), to fight off such claims. In Clapper, the Supreme Court held that, in order for a plaintiff who alleges future harm to have the necessary Article III standing to sue in federal court, the plaintiff must meet a stringent bar for the suit to proceed: demonstrating that the harm is “certainly impending.” Clapper… More

Federal Data Breach Bill Stalled in Congress

A key distinguishing feature of U.S. data privacy laws is their patchwork nature.  There are industry-specific data privacy laws at the federal level (think HIPAA or the GLBA), yet there are no comprehensive federal standards that governs an entity’s obligations in the event of a data breach like the EU’s Data Privacy Directive.  For data breach response, in addition to the possible application of an industry-specific law or regulation, companies doing business in the U.S. must look to 47 different state laws.

Congress has… More

Reflections on “Privacy in the Modern Age”

With the heart of the summer vacation season upon us, it seems like a good time for some reflection. Here, it comes in the form of excerpts from an essay by privacy maven, Deborah Hurley. The one time Director of the Harvard Information Infrastructure Project at Harvard University, she has been thinking and writing about privacy issues for two decades.  Her entire essay can be found in the book, Privacy in the Modern Age, and this excerpt is provided with her permission:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the founding document of the modern human rights era,… More

Understanding ISO 27018 and Preparing for the Modern Era of Cloud Security

This seminar was presented by Foley Hoag LLP and and a panel of industry experts on ISO 27018, the new international standard governing the processing and protection of personal information by public Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). Even though this new standard is voluntary, it is widely expected to become the benchmark for CSPs going forward.

As the first and only international privacy standard for the cloud, ISO 27018 addresses the means of keeping customer information confidential and secure, as well as preventing personal information from being used for advertising or data analytics without customer approval. More importantly, adherence to ISO… More

May 27 MIT Enterprise Forum: “Building a Proactive Cyber Defense Strategy, from Tools to Tactics”

The next MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Innovation Series event, “Building a Proactive Cyber Defense Strategy, from Tools to Tactics,” will take place tomorrow, May 27, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge. There is a great line-up of speakers, including our own Christopher Hart.

DOJ Releases Best Practices for Victim Response and Reporting of Cyber Incidents

Last week, the Cybersecurity Unit of the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a list of “best practices” for companies concerning preparing for and responding to cyber-attacks. The report details the lessons federal prosecutors have learned while handling cyber investigations, as well as feedback from private sector companies. Some of the key pieces of advice are:

Identify Your “Crown Jewels”: Before creating a cyber-incident response plan, companies should first identify which data, services, and infrastructure warrants the most protection. Loss of some data or services might only result in a minor disruption, which loss of others could be devastating. A… More

SEC Issues Cybersecurity Guidance Update for Investment Advisers

By Catherine M. Anderson and Robert G. Sawyer

On April 28, 2015, the SEC’s Division of Investment Management (the “Division”) issued a Guidance Update regarding the SEC’s initiative to assess cybersecurity preparedness and threats in the securities industry, further highlighting this as an important area of focus for the SEC in its compliance initiatives.

The full text of the Guidance Update is available here. In summary, the Guidance Update notes the Division staff’s view that funds and investment advisers may wish to consider the following in order to address cybersecurity risk in their organizations:

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Cyber Risks and the Boardroom — The Role of Cyber Insurance

am just back from presenting at the New York Stock Exchange’s program on Cyber Risks and the Boardroom, where I presented on The Role of Cyber Insurance.  My presentation is here:  2015_04_21_The_Role_of_Cyber_Insurance_NYSE_Presentation.  It was evident from this program that the C-suite is very concerned about cyber issues, but management and their boards often lack the expertise to deal with them effectively. With specific regard to cyber insurance, the product market is new and rapidly evolving.

Obama Executive Order Targets International Cyberattacks Against U.S. with New Sanctions

By Gwen Jaramillo and Shrutih V. Tewarie

As part of a series of measures aimed at increasing preparedness and defenses against international cyberattacks on U.S. industries and government agencies, on April 1, President Obama issued Executive Order No. 13694, authorizing the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to sanction foreign individuals or entities committing such attacks. The new sanctions will allow the Treasury Department to block or freeze the assets of those outside the U.S. engaging in malicious cyber activities that threaten the national security, foreign policy and financial stability of the U.S. Once OFAC designates… More

HIPAA Compliant Technology and the Importance of Encryption

We welcome this guest blog by Gene Fry, Compliance Officer, Scrypt, Inc.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) sets the standard for protecting sensitive patient data. This means that any covered entity (CE) or business associate (BA) that deals with protected health information (PHI) must ensure that all the required physical, network, and process security measures are in place and followed. The HIPAA Privacy Rule addresses the storage, accessing and sharing of PHI, whereas the HIPAA Security Rule outlines the security standards which protect health data created, received, maintained or transmitted electronically; known as electronic protected health… More