Privacy and COVID-19 Contact Tracing – Lessons from South Korea?

Very interesting discussion in the most recent Journal of the American Medical Association, “Information Technology–Based Tracing Strategy in Response to COVID-19 in South Korea—Privacy Controversies.”

The sources of information are staggering in their breadth:  mobile phone carriers, immigration services, law enforcement, credit card companies, public transit companies, government agencies, health insurers and health care providers.  It is difficult to imagine this type of tracing in the United States.… More

Colin Zick recommends getting ready for the new data sharing rules now, despite enforcement delay…

Colin Zick, co-chair of Foley Hoag’s Health Care Practice and Chair of the Privacy and Data Security Practice, spoke with Bloomberg Law’s Ayanna Alexander regarding the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to hold off on enforcing new health information data-sharing rules. His recommendation: prepare now, as the new requirements aren’t going away. “They will go easy on you if you are trying to comply, but the pandemic makes it difficult or impossible,” Zick said.… More

FERC Authorizes Deferred Implementation of Seven NERC Reliability Standards

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) recently issued an Order approving a request by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to defer the implementation of several Reliability Standards scheduled to take effect later this year. This action, along with others discussed in an earlier post here, are the latest measures approved by FERC that demonstrate the Commission’s intent to exercise discretion in easing reliability compliance burdens in light of the national emergency related to the coronavirus pandemic.… More

Best Privacy and Security Practices, COVID-19 Edition (Hint: Fewer Differences than You Might Think)

Businesses scrambling to move their workforces into remote environments are rightly concerned about the smooth and productive flow of information, including question about whether there will be any government support for building out a remote infrastructure, and what limitations are there on the kinds of information employers may obtain or share to minimize the health impacts on their employees (both questions, among many others, that Foley Hoag’s COVID-19 Task Force was built to help answer). … More

Beware of COVID-19-Based Cyber Attacks, Say US and UK Agencies

Malicious cyber actors have been exploiting the COVID-19 crisis, warn the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in a joint release issued April 8. Bad actors have done so in two main ways: first, by grafting COVID-19-related themes onto standard cyberattack practices; second, by exploiting vulnerabilities in services that have seen increased use since the pandemic began.… More

Jeremy Meisinger discusses why strong, transparent privacy protections are both possible and necessary to secure the public buy-in needed to make public health surveillance work

Both legally and practically, there need not be an exclusive choice between health information privacy and using GPS and other technology to gather and provide information about COVID-19. Foley Hoag’s Jeremy Meisinger shares more in this GPS World article.

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FBI Warns of Teleconferencing and Online Classroom Hijacking

If you are among the many people turning to video-teleconferencing (VTC) to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to protect yourself from “Zoom-bombing” – the entrance of uninvited individuals into your VTC.  The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by offensive images and/or threatening language.

The FBI recommends the following steps to mitigate VTC hijacking threats:

  • Do not make meetings or classrooms public:
    • In Zoom,…
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COVID-19 and HIPAA: OCR Guidance on Disclosures to Law Enforcement, First Responders, and Public Health Authorities

On March 24, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance on how HIPAA covered entities may disclose protected health information (PHI) about an individual who has been infected with or exposed to COVID-19 to law enforcement, paramedics, other first responders, and public health authorities in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.… More

Partner Colin Zick Discusses Remote Work and Cybersecurity on WGBH’s In It Together

Colin Zick, Co-Chair of Foley Hoag’s COVID-19 Task Force, recently appeared on the WGBH news program In It Together, where he spoke with Arun Rath about the steps companies and individuals can take to protect their sensitive data in an era of remote working and telehealth. Click here to listen to a full recording of the program.