In a new policy enforcement statement, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has provided additional guidance on when verifiable parental consent must be obtained for a website operator or provider of online services to receive or use voice recordings from children under 13. Under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), verifiable parental consent must be obtained prior to collecting personal information from children over the internet. The definition of “personal information” includes audio files such as voice recordings. 16 C.F.R. § 312.2. However, in the recent policy enforcement statement, the FTC has stated it will not take enforcement action (subject to the limitations described below) against parties who do not obtain parental consent when a voice recording is used “solely as a replacement of written words” so long as the voice recording is (a) briefly used solely for that purpose; and (b) is deleted immediately thereafter. In doing so, the FTC made a distinction between voice recordings that are made in connection with purposes such as verbal searches or verbal instructions to a connected device and voice recordings that are made for other purposes. According to the FTC, voice recordings made for the purpose of verbal searches and verbal instructions are the result of a technological evolution where voice is beginning to replace written words in some scenarios.Read More
Polsinelli on Privacy | Privacy and Data Security Blog
In an increasingly competitive environment, effectively leveraging technology can be the difference between success and failure for companies in all sectors of the economy. Protecting your data and securing employee/end user privacy – this is the goal of Polsinelli’s Privacy and Data Security practice and it’s what keeps us up at night.
We offer compliance and security counseling, transactional support, data breach rapid response, and breach litigation and counseling. In 2017 we were named a Leader by BTI in their annual "Law Firms Best at Cybersecurity" ranking.
The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield has passed its first test: the first joint annual review. If your organization has been waiting for a positive review of the Privacy Shield to join, now is a good time to consider moving forward.
The European Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce conducted the first joint annual review of the Privacy Shield in September. The joint annual review helps ensure that the Privacy Shield remains “adequate” under EU data protection law over time. The European Commission’s published report following the review generally expresses support for the Privacy Shield—with some noted opportunities for improvement, including increased enforcement activity and efforts to raise awareness among EU residents of their Privacy Shield rights.Read More
Several news reports today sounded the alarm that the WPA2 protocol, currently the most popular method of securing Wi-Fi communications, is vulnerable to the “KRACK” attack. Despite the amusing name, this vulnerability is extremely serious.
KRACK stands for Key Reinstallation Attack. In essence, this attack tricks Wi-Fi enabled devices into reinstalling the “nonce,” which is a randomly generated, one-time numerical key used to encrypt communications between the targeted device and the router/gateway. Once the attacker has compromised this key, it can eavesdrop on the packets that are sent to/from the target device or, alternatively, it can forge packets to inject viruses or other malicious code onto a target machine.Read More
On September 5, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s decision granting Turn Inc.’s motion to compel arbitration of a putative, privacy class action related to targeted adverting efforts on mobile devices.
In Re Anthony Henson and William Cintron v. Turn, Inc. was filed in the Northern District of California by two Verizon cellular and data subscribers against Turn. The case reflects a notable pivot in strategy in data privacy litigation. Data privacy cases have, previously, been directed at the webpage/content-providers or telecommunication providers that shared or processed users’ online activities. The plaintiffs in Henson did not sue Verizon or the webpages; instead, they sued the technology companies that enable the targeting.Read More
Three University of California-Berkeley researchers have written a paper discussing the first “practical approach for differential privacy.” This new method, referred to as “Elastic Sensitivity,” excludes the components of tables in large data sets and big data databases that contain individual information from the other data before running the query.Read More
In June 2017, the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force issued its Report on Improving Cybersecurity in the Health Care Industry. To view the report, click here.
The task force was created by Congress as part of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, and is comprised of subject matter experts from the public and private sector that evaluated the cybersecurity threats, the security of IT systems, and the regulations and laws that relate to the health care industry. In the Report, the task force discusses the evolution and transition from paper to electronic healthcare records (“EHR”), and tailors the recommendations to encourage opportunities for efficiencies, research and sharing of information, while responding to the increasing threat of cybersecurity breaches to the health care providers’ technical infrastructure.Read More
In what is being described as the largest breach of U.S. electoral data, personal data relating to almost 200 million U.S. citizens was accidentally exposed by a Republican National Committee vendor. According to BBC, the 1.1 terabytes of data exposed “includes birthdates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62% of the entire US population.”Read More
Google/Alphabet’s new and improved artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, just beat the best human player of the game Go as reported by Wired. Go was invented in China thousands of years ago, and it is considered the most complicated game in the world. AlphaGo is the newest version of Alphabet’s artificial intelligence program. According to Google’s DeepMind Lab, AlphaGo was completely redesigned and reconfigured so that the AI system would learn the game from playing the game against itself, as well as analyze the data of wins and losses by humans.Read More
By Zuzana Ikels and Erin Fleming Dunlap
By Jean Marie R. Pechette and Thomas Kiser
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a May 10, 2017 press release stating that Memorial Herman Health System, a Texas-based not-for-profit health system (“MHHS”), agreed to pay $2.4M and enter into a two- year corrective action plan (“CAP”) to settle potential HIPAA violations for alleged disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”) without the patient’s authorization. The CAP requires MMHS, among other things, to submit an implementation report and an annual report to HHS on MHHS’ compliance with the CAP.Read More
By JJ Bollozos
A cybersecurity attack of global proportions...
As of this afternoon, cybersecurity company Avast reported a ransomware attack, known as WanaCrypt0r 2.0, has been detected over 57,000 times across 99 countries. Of note, the attack has allegedly infected a large telecommunications company in Spain, hospitals across England, and a shipping company based in the U.S., as well as other companies throughout the world. According to the New York Times, the ransomware was included in a compressed file sent via email that would infect a victim’s device once it was opened.Read More
Florida-based radiology provider, SRA Ventures, and two units of Canada-based cardiology and imaging service provider, KMH Labs, have agreed to pay Medical & Chiropractic Clinic Inc. $1.35 million to settle a proposed class action lawsuit after the providers faxed nearly 5,600 advertisements that did not contain necessary opt-out language, allegedly in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), as amended by the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 (“JFPA”), and FCC regulations.Read More
By Joseph D. McClendon
A new phishing attack is making the rounds through email, this time using a fake Google Docs app to trick you into granting permissions to your real Google account. The attack starts by sending you an invitation to view a document in what appears to be Google Docs. Clicking on the link takes you to a fake Google login screen, which logs you into a third party web app that’s been named “Google Docs.” Next, you are instructed to give permissions to the web app to access your email and contacts list. Once the malicious web app has access to your account, the attack spreads by sending more phishing emails from “you” to your contact list.Read More
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced on April 24, 2017, a $2.5 Million settlement under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), with CardioNet, Inc., based on its alleged impermissible disclosure of unsecured electronic protected health information (ePHI). CardioNet provides remote mobile monitoring of and rapid response to patients at risk for cardiac arrhythmias.Read More
A class action suit filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida has accused national telehealth provider and mobile application developer MDLive of designing the MDLive App that secretly captures patients’ sensitive health information and unbeknownst to the patients, transmits their health information to an off-shore third party tech company. The suit also alleges that contrary to MdLive’s representation that it respects and takes patient privacy “very seriously,” MDLive fails to restrict access to a patient’s health information only to the patient’s healthcare provider but instead grants broad access to its employees (including software developers), agents and third parties. The suit also alleges that MDLive breached its contract with the patients by failing to implement adequate security measures to ensure that access to their health information was appropriately restricted (such as through the use of encryption).Read More
Bose has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of essentially spying on their wireless headphone customers by secretly collecting and transmitting the users’ private music and other audio selections to third parties without disclosure and user consent.Read More
On April 12, 2017, the Department of Commerce will begin accepting self-certifications to the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield. The Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield was approved to be an adequate legal mechanism for compliance with Swiss requirements to transfer personal data from Switzerland to the United States after the Swiss-U.S. Safe Harbor was declared invalid following the Schrems decision on October 6, 2015.Read More
In a vote of 50 to 48, along party lines, the Senate voted to overturn the privacy rules governing ISP providers that were issued in October 2016 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Click here to view the FCC Privacy Rules. The FCC Privacy Rules required ISP and broadband providers to obtain an individual’s consent and authorization – through an “opt-in” mechanism – before a provider could collect, use, share or sell the customer’s information to third party marketers and companies. It also included data security and data breach notification recommendations and requirements. The FCC also imposed a blanket prohibition on ISP providers that offered “take-it-or-leave-it” broadband services contingent on pre-authorization.Read More