The Department of Justice recently announced a “disruption campaign” against the Blackcat ransomware group (aka ALPHV or Noberus), including seizing the group’s darknet website and releasing a decryption tool for victim entities to recover their systems.Continue Reading ALPHV/Blackcat Ransomware Group Announces New Rule: No Rules…Anything, Anywhere

The SEC has been on a cybersecurity tear in 2023, instituting new rules on disclosures of cybersecurity events and threat assessments. But not wanting to let go of the past, it brought suit on October 30 in the Southern District of New York against SolarWinds and its Chief Information Security Officer, Timothy Brown. The SEC based the action on what it saw as mismatches between SolarWinds’ public disclosures and what the SEC saw in its investigation. The case certainly is a first in many ways: the first cybersecurity-related SEC case with allegations of intentional concealment, in which internal controls have figured prominently, and where SEC brought an action against the CISO personally. This has been blown up in data security media to suggest that CISO is somehow the most dangerous position in a corporation. In reality, this is not IT Armageddon, but there are some practical lessons.Continue Reading SEC Enforcement Against SolarWinds and Its CISO: Time to Freak Out?

Many businesses think their websites, like a spacecraft following Newton’s laws of motion, should just keep going once established. What may be reasonable in deep space is not particularly safe in the galaxy of data privacy, which is choked with debris, asteroids, and radiation. This fall is as good a time as any to make sure your electronic presence is still on course—especially as more states come online with new laws and regulations in 2024. Consider three questions:Continue Reading Start Your Website Spring Cleaning – This Fall

One of today’s litigation hot spots has its roots among the cobwebs of ancient data privacy law. The United States today has a patchwork of national data privacy laws, all of which deal with sectors, be it ages of data subjects (like the Children’s Online Protection Act), healthcare patients (the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), and financial customers (the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act). These laws were all passed before 2001, there has never since been a single comprehensive national data privacy act, and the proposed American Data Privacy and Protection Act has languished in fights about preemption.

We do have precedent for fast action in data privacy laws. The first true national data privacy law – one that required explicit opt-in for sharing of personal data – sailed through the Capitol in one year, in 1987-1988, by a bipartisan vote. Congress only needed the right motivation:Continue Reading Don’t Forget to Rewind: Replaying Video Privacy Laws.

On Monday, May 22, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) published a decision hitting Meta, parent of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, with a €1.2b ($1.3b) fine for impermissibly transmitting personal information from the European Economic Area (EEA) to the United States. The EDPB described Meta’s activities as “serious” and including “transfers that are systematic, repetitive, and continuous,” and it stated that the fine was intended to serve as a “strong signal to organizations that serious infringements have far-reaching consequences.”Continue Reading How Much Forgiveness Does $1.3 Billion Buy in the EU?

In between impeaching an Attorney General and creating a new type of business court, the 88th Texas Legislature passed the Texas Data Privacy and Security Act (TDPSA) (H.B. 4), which, once signed by Governor Abbott, will take effect July 1, 2024. State data privacy statutes generally track concepts in Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including notices of data collection, data subject rights (knowing what data a business has, correcting it, deleting it, opting out of certain uses of personal data, etc.), and restrictions on use or transfer of personal data. Texas, which would join nine other states in enacting “comprehensive” data privacy regulations, has added some twists and traps for the unwary, particularly midsized businesses engaging in interstate commerce. Here are three notable features of the TDPSA.Continue Reading Texas Passes One of the Strongest Data Privacy Laws in the Nation

On April 18, 2023, the Washington legislature passed the My Health My Data Act (the “Health Act”), a broad-sweeping data privacy and protection law governing individual personal health data. Although this bill is pending Governor Jay Inslee’s signature, the privacy community expects signature this year and braces itself for this novel law.Continue Reading An “Apple A Day” Does Not Keep Washington Regulators and Consumers Away: Washington Passes My Health My Data Act

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently issued a proposed order requiring BetterHelp, an online counseling service, to pay $7.8 million over misrepresentations to consumers and improper disclosures of consumers’ health information to advertisers, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Criteo, and Pinterest.[1] This order and consent agreement comes a month after the FTC entered a settlement with GoodRx for similar privacy violations, which we examined in the following article here.Continue Reading BetterHelp… Themselves: FTC Fines Company for Improper Deceptive Advertising Practices

How does Facebook know you want sugar-free snacks? These personal ads may have targeted you based on your online searches or a refill of your diabetes medicine collected by the digital health company GoodRx. GoodRx has been sending this personal health information such as prescription information to ad platforms like Facebook and Google to use and monetize your data.

But the Federal Trade Commission did not approve of GoodRx’s actions and, last Wednesday, fined the digital health company for its “deceptive practices” in the disclosure of personal and health information to third-party advertising companies and platforms like Meta and Google for advertisement purposes.[1] At the core of the complaint, the FTC cited the inconsistencies between the statements made in GoodRx’s privacy policy and its actual business practices, specifically, the company’s use of online tracking tools such as web beacons and software development kits (generally referred to as pixels) for targeted and personalized ads.Continue Reading From Your “Clicks” To Targeted Ads: FTC Fines Company for Its “Deceptive” Use of Pixels