Facebook Fined for WhatsApp Data Linking Fallout

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On 18 May 2017, the European Commission (“Commission”) fined Facebook €110 million ($122 million) for misrepresentations made in its application for competition clearance of the company’s acquisition of WhatsApp. In its merger application, Facebook claimed that it would be unable to automatically match Facebook users’ accounts and WhatsApp users’ accounts for marketing and other purposes. However, in August 2016, WhatsApp introduced functionality enabling the linking of WhatsApp users’ phone numbers with Facebook users’ identities. This is the first time since the new Merger Regulation [...] Read more

Court Holds Forensic Investigator’s Report is Protected from Disclosure

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Third-party forensic investigations performed at the direction of counsel are part-and-parcel of virtually every data breach.  There has been little case law, however, directly addressing the extent to which the attorney-client privilege and/or work product doctrine protects those forensic investigations from disclosure.  Last week, the Central District of California held that, under the specific facts at issue, that information is indeed protected by at least the attorney work product doctrine. In In re Experian Data Breach Litigation, 15-1592 (C.D. Cal. May 18, 2017), the Court considered [...] Read more

President Trump Signs Long-Awaited Cyber Executive Order

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On May 11, 2017, President Trump signed a long-awaited executive order on cybersecurity (the “Order”).  The Order directs executive agencies to complete a risk management report based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (the “Framework”) and also requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies to undertake activities in support of effective cybersecurity risk management for operators of critical infrastructure.  More generally, the Order directs several agencies to submit reports to the President on a varied set of cybersecurity-related topics.  These measures demonstrate [...] Read more

Outbreak of “WannaCry” and “Wanna Decryptor” Ransomware Affects Companies Across the Globe

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On Friday, May 12, companies in countries across the globe witnessed an unprecedented malware outbreak as ransomware labeled “WannaCry” and “Wanna Decryptor” infected a large range of critical systems. The malware exploits a vulnerability in older versions of Microsoft’s Windows, locks the systems it infects, and threatens to delete files unless a bitcoin ransom is paid. What happened? An attacker or group of attackers unleashed a wave of ransomware infections beginning on Friday, May 12. More so than previous attacks, this outbreak resulted in substantial disruption to regular [...] Read more

Swire Discusses European Data Economy at European Political Strategy Centre Policy Hearing

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Peter Swire, Alston & Bird Senior Counsel and Nancy J. and Lawrence P. Huang Professor of Law and Ethics at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business, recently participated in a policy hearing held by the European Political Strategy Centre, the in-house think tank of the European Commission. Swire joined five other experts in answering a series of questions posed by the Centre’s moderators on how Europe can build its data economy to compete globally, protect fundamental privacy rights, and guard against anti-competitive behavior. In his remarks, Swire pointed [...] Read more

New York High Court Denies Facebook’s Challenge of Bulk Stored Communications Act Warrants

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The Court of Appeals for the State of New York recently rejected Facebook’s appeal of its challenge to bulk search warrants issued pursuant to the Stored Communications Act (SCA) and separately challenged the warrants’ nondisclosure component. The Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling that Facebook could not appeal the rejection of its motion to quash the SCA warrant. In this case, at the request of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the New York Supreme Court issued 381 warrants directing Facebook to “retrieve, enter, examine, copy, analyze, and . . . search” the targeted [...] Read more

French CNIL Releases GDPR Compliance Toolkit

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On March 15, 2017, the French data protection authority (CNIL) released its six step- GDPR compliance program together with GDPR-tailored templates for use by companies, the “GDPR Toolkit.” The GDPR Toolkit is helpful for companies because it provides guidance that companies may directly include in their privacy programs. Companies with sophisticated privacy programs may also use the GDPR Toolkit as a reality check against CNIL and, more generally, European data protection authorities’ standards and expectations for GDPR compliance. Click here to access the Toolkit. [...] Read more

Working Party welcomes the draft ePrivacy Regulation, yet expresses grave concerns

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The Working Party recently issued its first Opinion for 2017, focusing on the EU Commission’s proposed ePrivacy Regulation (WP 247, Opinion 01/2017). The Commission’s proposal, which was published in January this year, aims to modernize the existing ePrivacy Directive (2002/58/EC as amended by 2009/136/EC) which concerns the protection of personal data in the context of electronic communication services. In its Opinion, the Working Party overall welcomed the proposed regulation, yet expressed several points of concern and suggested amendments. The congratulations… In welcoming the regulation, [...] Read more

May 30 is Fast Approaching – Are You Ready for Compliance with the Amended Act on Protection of Personal Information in Japan?

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Japan’s Act on Protection of Personal Information currently in force (“Current APPI”) dates back to 2003.  It was originally enacted on May 30, 2003, and came into effect in 2005.  Ten years later, the National Diet passed extensive reforms to modernize the Current APPI in September, 2015.  Although the Amended Act on Protection of Personal Information (“Amended APPI”) has been partly in effect, it will come fully into effect on May 30, 2017. It is important to note that the Amended APPI applies to “personal information handling business operators” which is defined as a person [...] Read more