Category Archives: Cybercrime & Cybersecurity

Microchipping Employees and Biometric Privacy Laws – It’s Time To Start Paying Attention

By Avi Gesser, David Popkin, and Michael Washington

Until recently, biometric privacy was a niche area of the law that had little application to most companies.  But with the rapid growth in commercial biometric data collection, including voice samples, fingerprints, retina scans, and facial geometry, as well as some recent developments in the applicable case law, it’s probably time for companies to start paying attention.  Indeed, one of our top privacy law predictions for 2019 was a judicial expansion of the notion of harm, which happened quicker than we anticipated in the context of gathering biometric data.

On January 25, 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court decided Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, 2019 IL 123186 (PDF: 61.7 KB), unanimously finding that plaintiffs could bring a private cause of action for violations of the notice and consent requirements of the state’s biometric privacy law without any showing of harm.  In Six Flags, a mother sued the owner of a theme park on behalf of her teenaged son after he was fingerprinted in connection with the purchase of a season pass to the park.  Neither the son nor the mother consented in writing to the taking of the fingerprint or signed any written release. Further, the park did not provide any documentation about their retention schedule or guidelines for retaining and then destroying the data.  The court found that individuals possess a right to privacy in and control over their biometric identifiers. Continue reading

State-Level Actors on the Frontlines of U.S. Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Regulation and Enforcement

by John F. Savarese, Marshall L. Miller, and Jeohn Salone Favors

While the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) significantly expanded the powers of European national data protection authorities in 2018, legislative and enforcement developments in the United States over the last year showcased the growing role and importance of state attorneys general and other state regulators in the realm of cybersecurity and data privacy.

In 2018, California passed a data privacy law akin to the GDPR and enacted legislation addressing internet-based bot activity and security of devices connected to the Internet of Things.  With passage of legislation in Alabama in March 2018, all 50 states now have data breach notification laws, with requirements as to notification content, timing, and recipients varying across jurisdictions.  And prescriptive cybersecurity regulations promulgated by New York State’s Department of Financial Services continued to take effect in rolling fashion.  Absent preemptive legislation at the federal level, where proposals are stalled in Congress, we can expect data protection and privacy laws and regulations to proliferate at the state level, as state legislatures and regulators vie for the mantle of lead cybersecurity enforcer. Continue reading

Fintech in 2019: Five Trends to Watch

by Steven Gatti, David Adams, Peter Chapman, Laura Nixon, Paul Landless, Jack Hardman, and Brian Harley

Technology continues to have an enormous impact on financial services and the pace of change shows no signs of abating. Following the bold predictions we made last year, we highlight the five stand-out trends for fintech in 2019.

1. CRYPTO CRACKDOWN

There has been massive growth in the market for cryptoassets such as Bitcoin and tokens issued in initial coin offerings (ICOs), but market participants have faced uncertainty as to whether cryptoassets may be regulated financial products (and subject to scrutiny by regulatory authorities). Enforcement investigations globally have largely focused on issues of fraud, but now, there’s a renewed focus on guarding the regulatory perimeter (i.e. ensuring businesses carrying on regulated activities have the appropriate authorisation) .  Disputes and enforcement cases are arriving in courts across the globe.

What’s next?

Continue reading

U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services Issues New Guidance On Voluntary Cybersecurity Practices For Health Care Industry

by Ryan Bergsieker, Reid Rector, and Josiah J. Clarke

On December 28, 2018, a Task Group that includes U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) personnel and private-sector health care industry leaders published new guidance for health care organizations on cybersecurity best practices.[1]  The guidance—Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices: Managing Threats and Protecting Patients—is voluntary and creates no legal obligations.  It is targeted to health care providers, payors, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device manufacturers. 

This publication is among the most comprehensive and detailed guidance now available to the health care industry on cybersecurity.  While voluntary, the prescriptive advice and scalable tools in the new guidance may be a valuable resource for legal, compliance, IT, and information security professionals at health care organizations.  Organizations that follow this guidance may decrease the likelihood that they will suffer a costly data breach, and in the event of a breach may be able to point to compliance with the guidance to show that they have implemented reasonable cybersecurity practices, thereby helping to defend against private lawsuits or government enforcement actions. 

This alert briefly describes the background and key takeaways from the guidance.  Gibson Dunn is available to answer any questions you may have about how this guidance applies to your organization, as well as any other topics related to cybersecurity or privacy in the health care industry. Continue reading

2019 Predictions – Top 10 Cybersecurity/Privacy Trends to Prepare for Now

by Avi Gesser, Daniel Forester, Will Schildknecht, Clara Kim, Daniela Dekhtyar-McCarthy, Mikaela Dealissia, Dan Thomson, and Mengyi Xu

2018 was another busy year for lawyers in the privacy/cybersecurity world – GDPR, CCPA, Marriott, New York Department of Financial Service’s cybersecurity rule deadlines, increased SEC enforcement, more data breach lawsuits, more companies doing table top exercises and risk assessments, etc.  But 2019 is looking to be even busier.  Below are our predictions for the Top 10 things that will keep us busy in 2019, and what companies should be preparing for: Continue reading

China Privacy Developments in 2018

by Yan Luo, Raymond Lu, and Zhijing Yu 

Data Privacy and Cybersecurity

The past year was a particularly significant one for the development of Chinese privacy law. During 2018, the Chinese government systematically established the country’s regulatory requirements for cybersecurity and data privacy and continued to implement the Cybersecurity Law, which took effect on June 1, 2017.

Multiple regulators, including the Ministry of Public Security (“MPS”), the Cyberspace Administration of China (“CAC”) and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (“MIIT”), released regulations and brought enforcement actions against companies in the past year. We expect the overall trend of heightened regulation and increased enforcement to continue in 2019. Continue reading

DOJ Tells Tech Companies to Develop “Responsible Encryption”

by Laura Goodall, Michael Mugmon, and John F. Walsh

On November 29, 2018, in a speech at the Georgetown University Law School, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein renewed his call for tech companies to build into their products the means for law enforcement to legally access decrypted data, the development of so-called “responsible encryption.”[1] Mr. Rosenstein analogized such encryption to requirements that buildings disable elevators in the event of a fire but still retain firemen’s access, and he beseeched the private sector to work with the government to mitigate the security threats posed by rapid technological advances.

Summary of Mr. Rosenstein’s Address

Detailing the threat of ransomware, Mr. Rosenstein warned that the “malicious use of technology will be more pernicious and pervasive tomorrow than it is today, and even more difficult to combat.” To “forestall those ominous consequences,” he proposed three steps: Continue reading

SEC’s First “Red Flags” Enforcement Case Focuses on Board’s Role

by Craig A. Newman

A little-noticed consent decree entered into by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year should be setting off alarm bells for financial firms and their boards of directors.

In a cease and desist order against Voya Financial Advisors, the investment advisory unit of Voya Financial, the SEC – for the first time – enforced its “Identity Theft Red Flags Rule” in punishing the firm for allegedly lackluster data security practices. The SEC charged that hackers were able to access sensitive client information including Social Security Numbers, account balances and even details of client investment accounts. The commission called out the company’s board of directors for failing to “administer and oversee” compliance with the rule. Continue reading

SEC Issues Report of Investigation on Cyber-Related Frauds Perpetrated Against Public Companies

by Robert W. Downes, John Evangelakos, Nader A. Mousavi, Nicole Friedlander, and Sarah M. Cravens

Public Companies Should Implement Sufficient Internal Controls to Avoid Becoming Victims of Cyber-Related Frauds and to Comply With the Exchange Act

Summary

On October 16, the SEC issued a report on an investigation into whether nine public issuers that were victims of cyber-related frauds may have violated Sections 13(b)(2)(B)(i) and (iii) of the Exchange Act by failing to have a sufficient system of internal accounting controls to provide reasonable assurances that those frauds were detected and prevented.

The issuers, which the SEC stated represent a variety of industries, were victims of two types of “business email compromise” scams that resulted in mostly unrecovered losses ranging from $1 million to over $45 million.

While the SEC determined not to pursue enforcement actions against the issuers under investigation, it issued its report of investigation to make issuers aware that the cyber-related threats exist and concluded that all companies should reassess the sufficiency not only of existing internal controls, but also of policies and procedures that ensure employee compliance with controls. Continue reading

New York Office Of The Attorney General Publishes Report On Virtual Currency Platforms And Their Potential Risks

by Arthur S. Long, Carl E. Kennedy, and Jeffrey L. Steiner

This post reviews the New York State Office of the Attorney General’s (the “OAG”) Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative Report (the “Report”), which was published on September 18, 2018.[1]  The publication of the OAG’s 42-page Report brings to a close its six-month fact-finding inquiry of several virtual currency platforms.[2]  The OAG sent out detailed letters and questionnaires to a number of virtual currency platforms seeking information from the platforms across a wide-range of issues, including trading operations, fees charged to customers, the existence of robust policies and procedures, and the use of risk controls.  Continue reading