On February 28th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report that offers several recommendations on ways to improve the security of mobile devices. In a press release accompanying the report, Tom Pahl, the Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated that “more needs to be done to make it easier for consumers to ensure their devices are secure.” The FTC’s recommendations center around the ongoing need to patch vulnerabilities. However, the complexity of the mobile ecosystem and the many stakeholders, including mobile device manufacturers and operating system software providers, can delay security updates from reaching the mobile devices in consumer hands. Continue Reading FTC Releases “Best Practices” to Improve Mobile Device Security
In the absence of federal action, state legislators continue to propose bills that would increase data privacy and security protections for consumers. Any entity that does business in these states or maintains confidential information of their residents should monitor the legislation to determine whether and how the proposed changes may affect operations.
The bills are a reaction to Equifax’s data breach disclosure last summer. In prior alerts and articles, we discussed proposed legislation in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and South Dakota. In this post, we examine legislation being considered in Oregon, New York, Alabama, and Rhode Island.
To put the discussion into context, 48 states already have laws requiring entities to notify affected individuals if the entity suffers a loss or compromise of the individuals’ confidential information. Those laws differ in many respects, resulting in a complex web of legal responsibilities that creates headaches for entities required to comply with them.
The challenge will become even more complex if the proposed bills become law, because, generally speaking, they would:
- expand the types of confidential information covered under state breach notification requirements;
- implement specific deadlines for when affected individuals must be notified;
- require businesses to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures to prevent data breaches; and
- authorize state attorneys general to enforce these provisions through substantial fines and penalties for non-compliance.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari in CareFirst v. Attias, a closely watched case that some thought provided the Court with an opportunity to clarify the standing analysis under Spokeo v. Robins in data breach class actions.
In January, we blogged about CareFirst. We noted that the core issue in the case – whether fear of identity theft flowing from a data breach is an “injury in fact” sufficient to trigger Article III standing – could have major impact on the viability of future data breach class actions. The district court’s finding in favor of CareFirst on the standing issue was reversed and remanded last August by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which held that plaintiffs had alleged a risk of future injury because it was at least “plausible” that the cybercriminals had the intent and ability to use the stolen data for wrongful purposes. CareFirst then filed a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which today denied the petition leaving in place the D.C. Circuit’s ruling in favor of Plaintiffs. Continue Reading Supreme Court Denies Cert Petition in CareFirst v. Attias
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has unveiled a new, “easier and more efficient” way to notify her office of data breaches. The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has created an online portal and web form for submitting data breach notifications. An email announcing the changes was transmitted this week to attorneys who have previously filed data breach notices on behalf of clients. The email requested our “assistance in passing the message along,” which we are hereby doing.
Attorney General Healey stated, “This new feature allows businesses to more efficiently report data breaches so we can take action and share information with the public.” The Attorney General Office’s website will soon include a publicly accessible database of data breaches reported to the Office. Other states, including California and Maryland, have similar public databases.
Lyft recently confirmed that it is investigating whether its employees were accessing its customer database without appropriate authorization to obtain personal information, including rides taken by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The investigation was announced less than six months after Uber entered into a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consent order to resolve allegations of similar behavior by its own employees.
The investigation demonstrates the importance of revisiting internal compliance measures in the wake of legal developments that may be relevant to a particular company or industry. Companies need to maintain comprehensive privacy programs to ensure the confidentiality of the personal information that they collect. Such programs should include, at a minimum: Continue Reading Lyft Employees Demonstrate Need for Privacy Compliance Management
Add South Dakota (site of Ballard’s newest office) and North Carolina to the list of states considering new data security legislation. South Dakota is poised to become the 49th state to enact a data breach notification law, while North Carolina is considering a very significant expansion of its existing law.
Will South Dakota Become No. 49?
The South Dakota Senate passed SB 62 on January 25, 2018. The bill, which now heads to the South Dakota House of Representatives, generally would require an “information holder” to notify South Dakota residents of any “breach of system security” involving their “personal or protected information.” Subject to certain exceptions, notification to South Dakota residents must be made “not later than sixty days from the discovery or notification of the breach of system security.” The South Dakota Attorney General and “all consumer reporting agencies as defined in 15 U.S.C. § 1681a” also must be notified of breaches involving more than 250 South Dakota residents. Notification to South Dakota residents is not required “if following appropriate investigation and notice to the attorney general, the information holder reasonably determines that the breach will not likely result in harm to the affected person.” Continue Reading South Dakota and North Carolina Consider New Data Security Legislation
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied the petition for certiorari seeking review of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s most recent decision in Spokeo v. Robins (Spokeo II), foregoing an opportunity to clarify the confusion that has ensued since the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Spokeo (Spokeo I) on the issue of Article III standing. In Spokeo I, the Supreme Court held that intangible injury may satisfy the “concrete injury” requirement for standing, but lower courts have since struggled to apply the Court’s holding.
Click here to read Ballard Spahr’s full legal alert on this decision.
A bipartisan group of Colorado legislators proposed legislation that, if enacted, would significantly change the requirements for how Colorado entities protect, transfer, secure, and dispose of documents containing personal identifying information. The proposed legislation also would expand the types of information covered by the Colorado Breach Notification Law and add additional requirements for companies that have suffered a data breach, such as a 45-day deadline to provide notice to affected individuals. Click here for a discussion of the proposed legislation.
Consumers are not the only ones suing retailers for payment card data breaches. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington recently denied, in large part, a motion to dismiss a data breach class action brought by Veridian Credit Union, on behalf of itself and other financial institutions, against Eddie Bauer, LLC. The class action relates to a January 2016 payment card data breach that allegedly impacted “every Eddie Bauer store in the United States and Canada.”
The court dismissed Veridian’s negligence per se claim, but allowed Veridian’s negligence and state statutory claims to proceed. The court’s analysis of choice of law and negligence issues is worth a read. Continue Reading Federal Court Allows Credit Union Data Breach Class Action to Proceed Against Eddie Bauer
The FTC has released its annual report summarizing its activity during 2017 relating to privacy and data security issues. In its self-declared role as “the nation’s primary privacy and data security enforcer,” the FTC outlines 10 privacy cases and 4 data security cases that it brought in 2017, including Uber Technologies (transportation service), Vizio (television manufacturer), Blue Global (lead generator), Upromise (college rewards program), ACDI Group (an alleged debt buyer), TaxSlayer (tax preparation service), and D-Link (wireless routers and Internet cameras). In addition, the FTC also brought its first actions to enforce the EU-US Privacy Shield in 2017. The FTC report also described its activities relating to international enforcement, children’s privacy, and Do-Not-Call. Continue Reading FTC Releases Annual Privacy and Data Security Update