Recent news of government monitoring of phone calls and emails, both within the U.S. and abroad, has caused some to reexamine their technological companions. Many are beginning to ask, when highly confidential and sensitive information is being discussed, should our seemingly indispensable technology be checked at the door? This month, the British government began banning the presence of iPads at certain Cabinet meetings over […]
Category Archives: Security Programs & Policies
A Few Thoughts from Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity, Mark Weatherford, Department of Homeland Security
On May 16, Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity, Mark Weatherford, spoke to the Advanced Cyber Security Center about DHS’s cyber security priorities: Information Sharing, R&D, and the Advanced Persistent Threat. On Information Sharing: This is a continuing challenge, in part because of the way the federal government shares information. At present, the federal government provides cyber […]
Data Breaches Keep Privacy and Security Lawyers Increasingly Busy and Looking for Recruits, But Recruits Are Hard to Find
Interesting article from Of Counsel regarding both the substance and the business of data privacy and security law. Lawyers from several firms (including me) talk about current and pending legislation, the mechanisms of compliance and breach response, and the pipeline for new lawyers in the field of data security and privacy. One of the other […]
In an article that repeats a common theme in this space, this week’s Economist talks about how researchers are trying to help ordinary people toughen up their passwords. But despite the efforts of these researchers, the article’s conclusion is a gloomy one: The upshot is that there is probably no right answer. All security is […]
Ponemon “data breach” cost
At most restaurants, when the time comes to pay the check, you hand over your credit card and a waiter you’ve known for only about an hour takes off with your credit card. You trust that the waiter will only charge your meal and won’t make off with your card number. But if you ever have […]
In a settlement announced today by the Federal Trade Commission and Facebook, the social networking service agreed to settle “charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public,” according to the FTC’s press release. In its complaint, the FTC […]
Ensuring strong and efficient data storage and secured systems is the foundation of any successful business in today’s global business environment; the continued migration to cloud computing only amplifies this need. New England and Israel are global leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship and major players in the global software/IT industry, with the innovations of its […]
Please join Foley Hoag’s Labor and Employment attorneys on November 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for a discussion of new challenges that employers face with social media. Topics to be reviewed include: Employer monitoring of employee activities on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn; Whether employers can discipline employees for […]
Please join me and my friends at Co3 Systems for a free webinar,"Data Breaches & Compliance: Understanding The Law and How You Can Prepare" to be held on Thursday, October 20, 2011 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT. To add this webinar and the call-in information to your Outlook calendar, click here. I will be presenting with Ted […]
As noted in MassHighTech, the Advanced Cyber Security Center was officially launched on September 20. The program was opened by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and featured a presentation from Attorney General Martha Coakley. As described by MassHighTech: Touted as a first of its kind collaborative effort that brings together stakeholders in cyber security from the […]
The latest legislator to enter into the federal data security and privacy sweepstakes is Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) who introduced legislation, S. 1535, on September 8. This bill, if passed, would require companies dealing with consumers to strengthen their data security and privacy policies. In particular, Senator Blumenthal’s bill, “The Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act,” would required businesses […]
I just completed a webinar for the Association of Corporate Counsel, with Ed Palmieri of Facebook, discussing "What Every In-House Counsel Needs to Know About Data Security and Privacy." The program slides can be found at this link.
Wondering what your company might be able to do at the local level to help fight cybercrime? There are a growing number of public-private collaborations that are trying to get ahead of the bad guys. One is the Advanced Cyber Security Center (to which Foley Hoag serves as legal counsel). The ACSC is a collaborative, cross-sector research facility […]
In the April 22, 2011 Boston Business Journal article, entitled, "Pressure Point: Online Privacy – Privacy is Potentially a Costly Workplace Issue," I was interviewed regarding some of the recent developments in privacy and security law for employers: “Most of the time, data breaches don’t come down to a failure of technology or inadequate technology. […]
InformationWeek has published an interesting Analytics Brief on "Information Security in the Age of WikiLeaks." (Subscription required.) The brief discusses the following subjects: Could a Major Security Breach Be on the Horizon? The Smartphone Dilemma What Elements Are Currently Covered in Your Organization’s Security Awareness Program? Security Budgets Fare Well Implementing Risk Management Disciplines Do […]
Earlier today, I delivered a presentation on "Data Security and Privacy for Medical Device, Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Companies: How to manage your obligations under HIPAA, the HITECH Act and other federal and state data privacy and security laws" with colleagues Ara Gershengorn and Sarah Altschuller.
As we noted back in May, digital copiers have caught the eye of government privacy enforcers. If you have a digital copier at your business, you should review the FTC’s Copier Data Security: A Guide for Businesses. In that Guide, the FTC suggests that “your information security plans . . . should cover the digital copiers your company […]
The Department of Homeland Security has released its latest update to its internal guide to handling personally identifiable information. The "Handbook for Safeguarding Sensitive PII at DHS" has been around since 2008; even if you do not have direct dealings with DHS, it provides a useful point of comparison for your own policies and procedures.
I recently attended the 10th Annual Legal and Compliance Forum on Privacy & Security of Consumer and Employee Information in Washington, DC. It featured a particularly lively panel on “Oversight of Third-Parties and Vendors: Managing and Controlling Relationships Through Effective Due Diligence and Contract Negotiation.” Below are some key points the panelists discussed; some may seem obvious, […]
If you got a new smartphone over the holidays, you’ve probably figured out how to use it by now. The next thing to worry about is security. The good news is that wireless providers are working to fortify their phones against attacks, as explained in this Wall Street Journal article. There are some personal actions […]
In January, we provided some helpful hints about passwords, in our entry: Is Your Password Still "123456"? If So, It’s Time for a Change. It’s been nearly a year, so it’s time to change your password again. In case you need some help, we liked the guidance provided by the public radio program, Marketplace, in […]
In the April 11, 2010, Boston Globe, there is an extended discussion of an article by Cormac Herley of Microsoft entitled, "So Long, And No Thanks for the Externalities: The Rational Rejection of Security Advice by Users." In his paper, Mr. Herley argues thoughtfully that compliance with even simple security measures, like changing your passwords, […]
The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) has filed its final information security regulations and will be making them public this week. The final rules appear to have been tweaked only slightly from the draft regulations issued on August 17, 2009.
Last month, Facebook announced plans to simplify its users’ ability to control privacy settings. Facebook will standardize privacy settings, remove overlapping settings, and put all settings on the same page. In an effort to give users more control over how their information is shared, Facebook will allow users to decide, on a post-by-post basis, with whom to share […]
Bozeman, Montana Suspends Controversial Requirement That Job Applicants Provide Usernames and Passwords to Facebook Accounts
When, in June, the City of Bozeman, Montana sought to change its job application to require municipal job seekers to disclose usernames and passwords for popular social networking sites, it immediately drew widespread criticism. Specifically, Bozeman asked applicants to "Please list any and all, current personal or business websites, web pages or memberships on any […]
On June 4, 2009, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) launched TOSBack – a site that tracks changes in the terms of service for major websites such as Facebook, Google, Apple, and eBay. If you’re wondering why anyone would be interested in such a thing, you may want to revisit the controversy that accompanied the revisions to the Facebook […]
On June 11, 2009, six federal agencies issued answers to a set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) (.pdf) to “assist financial institutions, creditors, users of consumer reports and card issuers in complying with the final rulemaking” on identity theft. The agencies behind the FAQ are those that originally promulgated the Red Flags Rules (and issued Guidelines to […]
On Wednesday, May 13, 2009, the FTC released a "template" identity theft prevention program (.pdf) to guide businesses subject to a "low risk" of identity theft through the process of complying with federal Red Flags Rules. The FTC template was first announced on May 1, 2009 when the agency postponed enforcement of the general purpose Red Flags Rules until August […]
Last Minute Reprieve: FTC Postpones Deadline for Red Flags Compliance Until August 1, 2009 – Will Release “Template” For Compliant Identity Theft Prevention Program
On Thursday, April 30, 2009, the day before federal Red Flags Rules were set to go into effect for a wide range of businesses, the FTC published a notice on its website indicating that it is postponing the deadline (yet again) until August 1, 2009. Importantly, this delay appears to be imposed so that the FTC can provide businesses, many of which are confused about how to comply, a “template” identity theft prevention program. “For entities that have a low risk of identity theft, such as businesses that know their customers personally, the Commission will soon release a template to help them comply with the law.” The FTC indicates that it will make the template available through their website.
FTC Launches New Website and “How-To” Guide for Companies Wondering How to Comply with Red Flags Rules
As the May 1, 2009 deadline for compliance with federal Red Flags Rules nears, the FTC’s staff has informally mentioned that helpful guidance would be forthcoming. As of today, the FTC has launched a new website and a series of materials to assist businesses pushing to meet the May 1st deadline.
The saga of Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez (“A-Rod”) and the revelation of his past steroid use already exemplifies the far-reaching implications of information security practices. But the story is far from over. While the media firestorm over A-Rod appears to be dying down, the fate of the identities of 103 other Major League Baseball players who tested […]
The FTC Strikes Back: (Essentially) Everyone Should Be Complying With Red Flags Rules, Especially The Healthcare Industry
In a recent letter (.pdf) to the healthcare industry, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has issued its clearest pronouncement yet on which entities must comply with federal “Red Flag Rules” — the identity theft regulations that will go into effect for many businesses on May 1, 2009 (and have been in effect for banks and financial institutions since November 1, 2008). This latest guidance strongly suggests that if you are wondering whether the new federal regulations apply to you — then they probably do. In this post, we will recap the FTC’s recent guidance on who should be complying with the Rules.
Has the Consumer Privacy Legislative Forum Decided to Abandon Efforts to Draft Federal Privacy Legislation?
In early February, I noted that a group called the Consumer Privacy Legislative Forum (“CPLF”), which includes companies such as eBay, Microsoft, Google and Hewlett Packard, had released a statement calling for comprehensive harmonized federal privacy legislation and would be outlining recommendations for such legislation this month. Apparently, the CPLF’s focus has shifted. According to a BNA […]
By Gabriel M. Helmer and Aaron Wright When Facebook changed its official terms of service earlier this month, what ensued was an explosive public outcry over who owns what users post to social networking sites. Tens of thousands of Facebook’s 175+ million users suddenly clicked that often-overlooked link at the bottom of the webpage and poured over the arcane and legalistic language comprising […]
According to a recently-released report from McAfee, the downturn in the economy is creating a “perfect information security risk storm.” The report, entitled “Unsecured Economies: Protecting Vital Information,” can be found here [Note: MacAfee requires registration to downloade the report]. McAfee bases its findings on a worldwide survey of 1,000 IT decision makers. The McAfee Report makes […]
High-profile Massachusetts businesses and industry groups have sent Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick a letter requesting that the governor reissue existing identity theft regulations and give battered businesses two additional years to develop information security programs.
Anyone mystified by what practices the FTC wants businesses to improve on or abandon in response to federal “Red Flags” regulations received some specific guidance in December, when the FTC released the report Security in Numbers – SSNs and ID Theft. For anyone subject to new federal and state identity theft regulations, the Report helps identify some specific steps they should consider implementing by May 1, 2009, the deadline for businesses to adopt compliant identity theft prevention programs.
ALERT: Massachusetts Gives Businesses Until May 1, 2009 to Adopt Comprehensive Information Security Programs To Comply With Recent State Identity Theft Regulations
On Friday, November 14, 2008, Massachusetts regulators announced that they will give affected businesses until May 1, 2009 to comply with new identity theft regulations. This move parallels the October announcement by the Federal Trade Commission that it is delaying enforcement of federal identity theft regulations until the same day.
ALERT: FTC Gives Businesses Until May 1, 2009 to Adopt Identity Theft Prevention Plans that Comply With Recent FTC “Red Flags” Regulations
On Wednesday, October 22, 2008, the Federal Trade Commission issued an Enforcement Policy Statement that it will delay some elements of enforcement of recent “Red Flags” regulations until May 1, 2009, instead of the original November 1, 2008 date. Citing uncertainty and confusion within many industries over whether they are covered by the new regulations, the FTC indicated that it will not seek to enforce the regulations on November 1, 2008, when all affected businesses were originally required to come into compliance.