On December 28, 2015, the People’s Bank of China published Administrative Measures for Online Payment Business of Non-bank Payment Institutions (the “Measures”). The Measures were enacted to provide further details on the regulation of online payment businesses, in supplement to the earlier Administrative Measures for the Payment Services of Non-financial Institutions (the “2010 Measures”), published by the People’s Bank of China on June 14, 2010. The 2010 Measures regulated the conduct of all payment services, including both online payment methods and three other types of payment methods, by all types of Non-bank Payment Institutions (“NBPIs”). The newer Measures are more focused and apply only to online payment methods, and only to NBPIs which have already obtained a Payment Business License and are engaged in an online payment business.
On November 17, 2015, two plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, improperly disclosed the Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and birth dates of more than 6.1 million Georgia voters. The lawsuit alleges that the Secretary violated Georgia’s Personal Identity Protection Act by disclosing the voters’ personally identifiable information, failing to provide voters notice of the breach and failing to notify consumer reporting agencies.
On November 5, 2015, the Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) entered into a Consent Decree with cable operator Cox Communications to settle allegations that the company failed to properly protect customer information when the company’s electronic data systems were breached in August 2014 by a hacker. The FCC alleged that Cox failed to properly protect the confidentiality of its customers’ proprietary network information (“CPNI”) and personally identifiable information, and failed to promptly notify law enforcement authorities of security breaches involving CPNI in violation of the Communications Act of 1934 and FCC’s rules.
On September 22, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced a settlement order (the “Order”) with an investment adviser for failing to establish cybersecurity policies and procedures, and published an investor alert (the “Alert”) entitled Identity Theft, Data Breaches, and Your Investment Accounts.
On August 7, 2015, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed four bills into law concerning online privacy. The bills, drafted by the Delaware Attorney General, focus on protecting the privacy of website and mobile app users, children, students and crime victims.
On July 1, 2015, Connecticut’s governor signed into law Public Act No. 15-142, An Act Improving Data Security and Agency Effectiveness (the “Act”), that (1) amends the state’s data breach notification law to require notice to affected individuals and the Connecticut Attorney General within 90 days of a security breach and expands the definition of personal information to include biometric data such as fingerprints, retina scans and voice prints; (2) affirmatively requires all businesses, including health insurers, who experience data breaches to offer one year of identity theft prevention services to affected individuals at no cost to them; and (3) requires health insurers and contractors who receive personal information from state agencies to implement and maintain minimum data security safeguards. With the passing of the Act, Connecticut becomes the first state to affirmatively require businesses to provide these security services to consumers.
On February 23, 2015, the Wyoming Senate approved a bill (S.F.36) that adds several data elements to the definition of “personal identifying information” in the state’s data breach notification statute. The amended definition will expand Wyoming’s breach notification law to cover certain online account access credentials, unique biometric data, health insurance information, medical information, birth and marriage certificates, certain shared secrets or security tokens used for authentication purposes, and individual taxpayer identification numbers. The Wyoming Senate also agreed with amendments proposed by the Wyoming House of Representatives to another bill (S.F.35) that adds content requirements to the notice that breached entities must send to affected Wyoming residents. Both bills are now headed to the Wyoming Governor Matt Mead for signing.
On December 29, 2014, the Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information of the German state Rhineland-Palatinate issued a press release stating that it imposed a fine of €1,300,000 on the insurance group Debeka. According to the Commissioner, Debeka was fined due to its lack of internal controls and its violations of data protection law. Debeka sales representatives allegedly bribed public sector employees during the eighties and nineties to obtain address data of employees who were on path to become civil servants. Debeka purportedly wanted this address data to market insurance contracts to these employees. The Commissioner asserted that the action against Debeka is intended to emphasize that companies must handle personal data in a compliant manner. The fine was accepted by Debeka to avoid lengthy court proceedings.
On November 12, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced that in response to FTC complaints, a federal court has ordered two debt brokerage companies to notify over 70,000 consumers whose sensitive personal information was posted on a public website by the debt brokerage companies.
On October 8, 2014, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted Cartoon Network, Inc.’s (“Cartoon Network’s”) motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging that Cartoon Network’s mobile app impermissibly disclosed users’ personally identifiable information (“PII”) to a third party data analytics company under the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”).