Enforcement

FTC Publishes Report Regarding Privacy Workshop

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In October 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) published a report that summarized discussions at a December 2017 workshop discussing the potential impact to consumers of privacy and security incidents. The purpose of the workshop was to explore whether government intervention in this arena is warranted under the enforcement authority granted to the FTC under the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 41 et seq. The report reveals that the workshop participants identified several types of potential impacts that they believe consumers may face in the wake of a data security incident that could warrant [...] Read more

SEC Brings First Enforcement Action for Violation of the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule

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On September 26, 2018, the SEC brought its first ever enforcement action for violations of Regulation S-ID (the “Identity Theft Red Flags Rule”), 17 C.F.R. § 248.201, in addition to violations of Regulation S-P, 17 C.F.R. 30(a) (the “Safeguards Rule”). Regulation S-ID and Regulation S-P apply to SEC-registered broker-dealers, investment companies, and investment advisers, and require those entities to maintain written policies and procedures to detect, prevent and mitigate identity theft, and to safeguard customer records and information, respectively. The SEC’s action against Voya Financial […] Read more

Alston & Bird Hosts Sept. 12 Webinar on California Consumer Privacy Act

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Save the date! On Sept. 12, 1 – 2 PM ET, Alston & Bird will host a webinar to analyze the new California Consumer Privacy Act. (You can read our prior advisory.) The California Consumer Privacy Act has been compared to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation due to its creation of important new privacy rights likely to require significant compliance activity by many companies. Partners Jim Harvey, David Keating, and Senior Counsel Peter Swire will lead discussion of this comprehensive new legislation currently slated to enter into force in less than 18 months.   Registration [...] Read more

LabMD: The End of the FTC in Cyber or Just a New Path?

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently issued its opinion in LabMD, Inc. v. FTC, No. 16-16270 (11th Cir. June 6, 2018), declaring unenforceable a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) order requiring LabMD to implement an extensive cybersecurity plan. The case is noteworthy for its lengthy procedural background—during which time LabMD became defunct—and its holding, which has called into question the FTC’s authority to impose wide-ranging, comprehensive cybersecurity plans. The LabMD matter dates to 2005, when LimeWire file sharing software was installed on a company computer, [...] Read more

German DPA Announces GDPR Compliance Survey of Large Companies – Translation Provided

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Following a two-year grace period, EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force on May 25, 2018.  For many companies, preparing for the GDPR was a multi-year project involving multiple teams and input or assistance from across the organization.  On this blog, we have outlined the items we have seen as particularly time- or resource-intensive. On June 29, 2018, the Data Protection Authority (DPA) of the German state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) announced it would be surveying GDPR compliance among companies under its jurisdiction.  Germany has 16 state-run DPAs with general [...] Read more

GDPR Fragmentation May Appear More Significant than Intended

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With the entry into application of the GDPR on May 25, 2018, the EU Member States were expected to have adopted national legislation implementing the regulation. To date, however, only 30% of Member States have effectively passed legislation, which still leaves the legal landscape to be precarious. The GDPR allows for deviations and specifications in several areas, for instance to introduce specific conditions or limitations for the processing of biometric, genetic, or health data; to create specific protection regimes for employee data; or to restrict the rights the GDPR grants to individuals. [...] Read more

Privacy Activist Challenges Data Collection for Internet Businesses

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Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems’ organization, NOYB – Center for Digital Rights, filed complaints against Google (Android), Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook on May 25th, the same day on which the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became effective. NOYB filed the complaints based on the GDPR with supervisory authorities in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria.  These “Day 1” complaints could have a definite impact on ad-supported online businesses. The complaints reflect similar criticisms of each company. Assuming that each company processes personal data on the basis [...] Read more

German DPAs Issue DPIA Blacklists; Many Companies Likely to be Affected

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The GDPR entered into force on May 25, 2018.  One of the GDPR’s core going-forward obligations is the duty to conduct Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) over processing activities that create a “high risk” to individuals’ privacy.  DPIAs constitute an important aspect of GDPR compliance, as they arguably replace the notifications of processing systems and activities to European Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) which pre-GDPR privacy law often obligated companies to make.  Instead of notifying DPAs, the GDPR now requires companies to internally conduct DPIAs that document “high [...] Read more

SEC Announces Its First Enforcement Action Over Cyber-related Disclosures

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The Securities and Exchange Commission’s $35 million settlement with Altaba Inc., the successor in interest to Yahoo! Inc., is the first civil penalty of its kind for a data breach and underscores the agency’s increasing focus on public companies’ cybersecurity disclosure obligations. A cross-practice team from our Securities Litigation and Cybersecurity Preparedness & Response groups examined the SEC action in an advisory published on April 27, 2018. To read the full advisory, please click here. [...] Read more

Belgian Court Uses Novel Argument to Assume International Jurisdiction over Non-EU Facebook Entities

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On February 16, 2018, the Brussels Court of First Instance rendered a judgment in proceedings brought by the Belgian Privacy Commission’s against Facebook. The case forms one part of two-tiered litigation brought by the Commission in regards to alleged monitoring practices vis-à-vis Belgian internet users. In parallel to the proceedings that resulted in the judgment cited above, the Belgian Privacy Commission had also initiated a procedure referred to as “summary proceedings” against Facebook – and Facebook defeated the Privacy Commission’s claim before the Brussels Court of Appeal in [...] Read more