The Federal Trade Commission has modified its 2017 settlement with Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) after learning of an additional breach that was not taken into consideration during its earlier negotiations with the company. The modifications are based on the fact that Uber failed to notify the FTC of a November 2016 breach, which took place during the time that the FTC was investigating an earlier, 2014 breach. The 2016 breach occurred when intruders used an access key that an Uber engineer had posted on GitHub to download more than 47 million user names, including related email addresses or phone numbers, as well as more than 600,000 drivers’ names and license numbers. The FTC alleged that after Uber learned of the breach, it paid the intruders a $100,000 ransom through its “bug bounty” program. The bug bounty program is intended to reward responsible disclosure of security vulnerabilities. Continue Reading FTC Revises Its Security Settlement with Uber

On February 13, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that it entered into a resolution agreement with the receiver appointed to liquidate the assets of Filefax, Inc. (“Filefax”) in order to settle potential violations of HIPAA. Filefax offered medical record storage, maintenance and delivery services for covered entities, and had gone out of business during the course of OCR’s investigation.  Continue Reading Unsecured PHI Leads to OCR Settlement with Closed Business

On February 12, 2018, in a settled enforcement action, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) charged a registered futures commission merchant (“FCM”) with violations of CFTC regulations relating to an ongoing data breach. Specifically, the FCM failed to diligently supervise an information technology provider’s (“IT vendor’s”) implementation of certain provisions in the FCM’s written information systems security program. Though not unprecedented, this case represents a rare CFTC enforcement action premised on a cybersecurity failure at a CFTC-registered entity. Continue Reading CFTC Brings Cybersecurity Enforcement Action

On February 5, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced its most recent Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) case against Explore Talent, an online service marketed to aspiring actors and models. According to the FTC’s complaint, Explore Talent provided a free platform for consumers to find information about upcoming auditions, casting calls and other opportunities. The company also offered a monthly fee-based “pro” service that promised to provide consumers with access to specific opportunities. Users who registered online were asked to input a host of personal information including full name, email, telephone number, mailing address and photo; they also were asked to provide their eye color, hair color, body type, measurements, gender, ethnicity, age range and birth date. Continue Reading FTC Brings Its Thirtieth COPPA Case, Against Online Talent Agency

On February 1, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced a settlement with dialysis clinic operator, Fresenius Medical Care (“Fresenius”). Fresenius will pay OCR $3.5 million to settle claims brought under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act rules, alleging that lax security practices led to five breaches of electronic protected health information. Continue Reading HHS Announces $3.5 Million Settlement with Fresenius Medical Care

On January 23, 2018, the New York Attorney General announced that Aetna Inc. (“Aetna”) agreed to pay $1.15 million and enhance its privacy practices following an investigation alleging it risked revealing the HIV status of 2,460 New York residents by mailing them information in transparent window envelopes. In July 2017, Aetna sent HIV patients information on how to fill their prescriptions using envelopes with large clear plastic windows, through which patient names, addresses, claims numbers and medication instructions were visible. Through this, the HIV status of some patients was visible to third parties. The letters were sent to notify members of a class action lawsuit that, pursuant to that suit’s resolution, they could purchase HIV medications at physical pharmacy locations, rather than via mail order delivery. Continue Reading Aetna Agrees to $1.15 Million Settlement with New York Attorney General

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

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.

On October 31, 2017, the New York and Vermont Attorneys General (“Attorneys General”) announced a settlement with Hilton Domestic Operating Company, Inc., formerly known as Hilton Worldwide, Inc. (“Hilton”), to settle allegations that the company lacked reasonable data security and waited too long to report a pair of 2015 data breaches, which exposed over 350,000 credit card numbers. The Attorneys General alleged that Hilton failed to maintain reasonable data security and waited more than nine months after the first incident to notify consumers of the breaches, in violation of the states’ consumer protection and breach notification laws. Continue Reading Hilton Agrees to Settle Data Breach-Related Claims by NY and VT Attorneys General