On March 15, 2018, the Trump Administration took the unprecedented step of publicly blaming the Russian government for carrying out cyber attacks on American energy infrastructure. According to a joint Technical Alert issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, beginning at least as early as March 2016, Russian government cyber actors carried out a “multi-stage intrusion campaign” that sought to penetrate U.S. government entities and a wide range of U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including “organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors.” Continue Reading U.S. Blames Russia for Cyber Attacks on Energy Infrastructure
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 Privacy and Information Security Law Blog’s Top 10 Posts of 2017
On October 19, 2017, the White House announced that President Donald J. Trump plans to nominate two individuals to serve as commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission. President Trump selected Joseph Simons to lead the FTC as its chairman for a seven-year term, beginning September 26, 2017. Simons’ background primarily has focused on antitrust matters. From June 2001 to August 2003, he led the FTC’s antitrust initiative as Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.
On August 22, 2017, the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (“NIAC”) issued a report entitled Securing Cyber Assets: Addressing Urgent Cyber Threats to Critical Infrastructure (“NIAC Report”). NIAC was first created in 2001 shortly after the 9/11 attacks and advises the President on information security systems in banking, finance, transportation, energy, manufacturing and emergency government services. The NIAC Report notes that sophisticated and readily available malicious cyber tools and exploits have lowered the barrier to cost and increased the potential for successful cyber attacks. According to the NIAC Report, “[t]here is a narrow and fleeting window of opportunity before a watershed, 9/11-level cyber attack to organize effectively and take bold action.” Continue Reading NIAC Issues Recommendations to Improve Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity
On May 11, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order (the “Order”) that seeks to improve the federal government’s cybersecurity posture and better protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber attacks. The Order also seeks to establish policies for preventing foreign nations from using cyber attacks to target American citizens.
On April 3, 2017, President Trump signed a bill which nullifies the Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules (the “Rules”) promulgated by the FCC in October 2016. The Rules largely had not yet taken effect. In a statement, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai praised the elimination of the Rules, noting that, “in order to deliver that consistent and comprehensive protection, the Federal Communications Commission will be working with the Federal Trade Commission to restore the FTC’s authority to police Internet service providers’ privacy practices.”
On January 25, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” While the Order is primarily focused on the enforcement of immigration laws in the U.S., Section 14 declares that “Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.” This provision has sparked a firestorm of controversy in the international privacy community, raising questions regarding the Order’s impact on the Privacy Shield framework, which facilitates lawful transfers of personal data from the EU to the U.S. While political ramifications are certainly plausible from an EU-U.S. perspective, absent further action from the Trump Administration, Section 14 of the Order should not impact the legal viability of the Privacy Shield framework.
On December 1, 2016, the nonpartisan Commission on Enhancing Cybersecurity (the “Commission”), established in February 2016 by President Obama as part of a $19 billion Cybersecurity National Action Plan, issued its Report on Securing and Growing the Digital Economy (the “Report”), which includes recommended actions that the government and private sector can take over the next 10 years to improve cybersecurity. Continue Reading Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity Issues Recommendations