UK ICO Issues Unprecedented Fine Against Mobile Phone Retailer for Lax Security

On January 8, 2017, the UK Information Commissioner (“ICO”) issued an unprecedented monetary penalty of £400,000 against British mobile phone retailer, The Car Phone Warehouse Limited. Following an attack on their system in 2015, the ICO found that the company had failed to take adequate steps to protect the personal data it held on its system. Continue Reading

FTC Recaps Connected Cars Privacy and Security Workshop

On January 9, 2018, the FTC issued a paper recapping the key takeaways from the FTC’s and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s June 2017 workshop on privacy and security issues involving connected cars. The workshop featured representatives from consumer groups, industry, government and academia. Continue Reading

FTC Settles First Children’s Privacy Case Involving Connected Toys

On January 8, 2018, the FTC announced an agreement with electronic toy manufacturer, VTech Electronics Limited and its U.S. subsidiary, settling charges that VTech violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) by collecting personal information from hundreds of thousands of children without providing direct notice or obtaining their parent’s consent, and failing to take reasonable steps to secure the data it collected. Under the agreement, VTech will (1) pay a $650,000 civil penalty; (2) implement a comprehensive data security program, subject to independent audits for 20 years; and (3) comply with COPPA. This is the FTC’s first COPPA case involving connected toys and the Internet of Things.

FERC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Aimed at Expanding Data Breach Reporting Obligations

On December 21, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) aimed at expanding mandatory reporting obligations in relation to cybersecurity incidents. In particular, FERC’s NOPR would direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop modifications to certain Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standards so that those standards require mandatory reporting of cybersecurity incidents that compromise or attempt to compromise a responsible entity’s Electronic Security Perimeter (“ESP”) or associated Electronic Access Control or Monitoring Systems. Continue Reading

Privacy and Information Security Law Blog’s Top 10 Posts of 2017

What were the hottest privacy and cybersecurity topics for 2017? Our posts on the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, and the U.S. executive order on cybersecurity led the way in 2017. Read our top 10 posts of the year. Continue Reading

The CNIL Serves Formal Notice to WhatsApp Regarding Sharing Data with Facebook

On December 18, 2017, the French data protection authority (“CNIL”) publicly announced that it served a formal notice to WhatsApp regarding the sharing of WhatsApp users’ data with Facebook Inc. (“Facebook”). This decision, dated November 27, 2017, follows the CNIL’s investigations regarding Facebook’s 2014 acquisition of WhatsApp. In 2016, WhatsApp updated its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to reflect the sharing of information with Facebook. Following this update, the Article 29 Working Party (“Working Party”) requested explanations from WhatsApp on its data processing practices and data sharing, and asked the company to stop sharing data for targeted advertising purposes. The Working Party also gave a mandate to its subgroup in charge of the cooperation on investigations and sanctions to coordinate actions of the relevant national data protection authorities. It is in that context that the CNIL started its investigation of WhatsApp’s data processing practices. Continue Reading

Article 29 Working Party Published Guidelines on Transparency under the GDPR

On December 12, 2017, the Article 29 Working Party (“Working Party”) published its guidelines on transparency under Regulation 2016/679 (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines aim to provide practical guidance and clarification on the transparency obligations introduced by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). The transparency obligations require controllers to provide certain information to data subjects regarding the processing of their personal data. Continue Reading

Cancer Center Settles with HHS for $2.3 Million over Data Breach

As reported in BNA Privacy Law Watch, on December 6, 2017, health care provider 21st Century Oncology agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle charges by the Department of Health and Human Services’ (“HHS”) Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) that its security practices led to a data breach involving patient information. The settlement was made public in the company’s December 6, 2017, bankruptcy filing. The HHS charges stemmed from a 2015 data breach involving the compromise of Social Security numbers, medical diagnoses and health insurance information of at least 2.2 million patients. OCR found that 21st Century Oncology failed to perform risk assessments on its systems or implement effective security protocols to protect patient information. As part of the settlement, 21st Century Oncology did not admit liability but did agree, in addition to the $2.3 million payment, to undertake a revision of its information security policies and procedures and to implement certain information security measures, including risk assessments.

FTC Hosts Workshop on Informational Injury

On December 12, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission hosted a workshop on informational injury in Washington, D.C. where industry experts, policymakers, researchers and legal professionals considered how to best characterize and measure potential injuries and resulting harms to consumers when information about them is misused or inappropriately protected. Continue Reading

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