Social Security Number

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.

On November 8, 2017, the FTC announced a settlement with Georgia-based online tax preparation service, TaxSlayer, LLC (“TaxSlayer”), regarding allegations that the company violated federal rules on financial privacy and data security. According to the FTC’s complaint, malicious hackers were able to gain full access to nearly 9,000 TaxSlayer user accounts between October 2015 and December 2015. The hackers allegedly used the personal information contained in the users’ accounts, including contact information, Social Security numbers and financial information, to engage in tax identify theft and obtain tax refunds through filing fraudulent tax returns. The FTC charged TaxSlayer with violating the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s Safeguards Rule and Privacy Rule.  Continue Reading FTC Announces Settlement with Tax Prep Service Over Financial Privacy and Security Violations

On September 5, 2017, the FTC announced that Lenovo, Inc. (“Lenovo”) agreed to settle charges that its preloaded software on some laptop computers compromised online security protections in order to deliver advertisements to consumers. The settlement agreement (the “Settlement”) is between Lenovo, the FTC and 32 State Attorneys General.  Continue Reading FTC Announces Settlement with Lenovo Regarding Preinstalled Laptop Software

On August 25, 2017, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh signed an order granting preliminary approval of the record class action settlement agreed to by Anthem Inc. this past June. The settlement arose out of a 2015 data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 78 million individuals, including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and health care ID numbers. The terms of the settlement include, among other things, the creation of a pool of funds to provide credit monitoring and reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs for customers, as well as up to $38 million in attorneys’ fees. Anthem will also be required to make certain changes to its data security systems and cybersecurity practices for at least three years. Continue Reading Record Breach Settlement in Anthem Class Action Receives Judge Approval

As reported in BNA Privacy Law Watch, on August 17, 2017, Delaware amended its data breach notification law, effective April 14, 2018. The Delaware law previously required companies to give notice of a breach to affected Delaware residents “as soon as possible” after determining that, as a result of the breach, “misuse of information about a Delaware resident has occurred or is reasonably likely to occur.” The prior version of the law did not require regulator notification. Continue Reading Delaware Amends Data Breach Notification Law

On August 9, 2017, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (“Nationwide”) agreed to a $5.5 million settlement with attorneys general from 32 states in connection with a 2012 data breach that exposed the personal information of over 1.2 million individuals.  Continue Reading Nationwide Agrees to Pay $5.5 Million to Settle Multistate Data Breach Investigation

On August 1, 2017, a unanimous three-judge panel for the D.C. Circuit reversed the dismissal of a putative data breach class action against health insurer CareFirst, Attias v. CareFirst, Inc., No. 16-7108, slip op. (D.C. Cir. Aug. 1, 2017), finding the risk of future injury was not too speculative to establish injury in fact under Article III.  Continue Reading D.C. Circuit’s Article III Standing Decision Deepens Appellate Disagreement

On July 27, 2017, Lisa Sotto, chair of Hunton & Williams LLP’s Global Privacy and Cybersecurity practice, appeared live on Washington, DC’s Fox TV to discuss the ID theft issue involving former Dallas Cowboys player Lucky Whitehead, and to warn against the risk of identity theft. Sotto cautions that identity thieves who are determined and looking to do harm “will find [personal data].” According to Sotto, consumers “leave footprints everywhere online.” To mitigate risk of identity theft, Sotto advises against freely providing a Social Security number, shredding bank account statements, using complex passwords and avoiding public WiFi when checking bank accounts.

Watch her live interview.

On July 5, 2017, the FTC announced that Blue Global Media, LLC (“Blue Global”) agreed to settle charges that it misled consumers into filling out loan applications and then sold those applications, including sensitive personal information contained therein, to other entities without verifying how consumers’ information would be used or whether it would remain secure. According to the FTC’s complaint, Blue Global claimed it would connect loan applicants to lenders from its network of over 100 lenders in an effort to offer applicants the best terms. In reality, Blue Global “sold very few of the loan applications to lenders; did not match applications based on loan rates or terms; and sold the loan applications to the first buyer willing to pay for them.” The FTC alleged that, contrary to Blue Global’s representations, the company provided consumers’ sensitive information—including SSN and bank account number—to buyers without consumers’ knowledge or consent. The FTC further alleged that, upon receiving complaints from consumers that their personal information was being misused, Blue Global failed to investigate or take action to prevent harm to consumers. Continue Reading Lead Generation Business Settles FTC Charges That It Unlawfully Sold Consumer Data