Archives: United States

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White House Releases Vulnerability Equities Policy and Processes

The White House released on November 15, 2017 the Vulnerabilities Equities Policy and Process for the United States Government (“VEP”) — the process by which the Government determines whether to disseminate or restrict information about new, nonpublic vulnerabilities that it discovers.  This release was motivated by criticism following the allegations that significant cyber-attacks have exploited … Continue Reading

FTC Seeks Comment on Petition to Modify 2009 Sears Order Concerning Online Browsing Tracking

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is soliciting public comments on a petition filed by Sears Holdings Management (“Sears”) to reopen and modify a 2009 FTC order regarding the tracking of personal information on their software apps.  The petition is notable for a number of reasons.  First, the Sears consent order was a seminal order in … Continue Reading

Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus Discusses Vulnerability Disclosures

Last week, the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus hosted “Hacking: What Color Is Your Hat? Vulnerability Disclosures and the Law,” a discussion on the importance of vulnerability disclosures to protect information systems and  the nation’s cyber security defenses, and how private and public actors can safely encourage vulnerability reporting.  Technology and security companies … Continue Reading

EU Commission Concludes Privacy Shield “Adequate” in first Annual Review

The European Commission has today published its Report on the first annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (the Report is accompanied with a Staff Working Document, Infographic, and Q&A).  The Commission concludes that Privacy Shield continues to ensure an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred from the EU to Privacy Shield-certified companies … Continue Reading

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Warns Against Warrant-Proof Encryption

In a speech delivered at the United States Naval Academy on October 10, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein waded into the public debate between data privacy and law enforcement interests.  As part of a discussion moderated by former Covington cybersecurity attorney Jeff Kosseff, Rosenstein’s remarks discussed cyber issues facing law enforcement with a particular focus … Continue Reading

FTC and Department of Education Announce Joint Workshop on FERPA and COPPA Compliance for Ed Tech

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Education announced plans to hold a joint workshop on the application of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) to educational technology products and services in the K-12 school environment.  In advance of the workshop, the … Continue Reading

Kicking Off Cybersecurity Awareness Month

As Covington kicks off Cybersecurity Awareness Month with a series of weekly articles, preventative tips, and Q&As developed by our cybersecurity practice professionals, it’s worth recollecting how much our cybersecurity landscape has changed over the last twenty-plus years, and how the law has responded to these evolving challenges. Although the late 1990s saw the first … Continue Reading

District Court Dismisses Multiple Counts in FTC’s Complaint Against D-Link

On September 19, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed three of the six counts in the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC’s”) January 2017 complaint against D-Link Systems, Inc., allowing the FTC until October 20, 2017 to amend its complaint. The FTC’s complaint alleged that D-Link engaged in unfair and deceptive … Continue Reading

FTC Twitter Chat: Influencers 101

Earlier this month, the FTC settled with two social media influencers for failing to provide adequate disclosures in their promotions of their company, and issued 21 warning letters to other influencers it felt continued to violate the FTC Endorsement Guidelines in spite of the educational letters the FTC had sent earlier this year. In addition … Continue Reading

FTC Reaches Settlement with Influencers; Issues Updated Guidance

The FTC recently announced that it reached a settlement with two social media influencers, Trevor Martin and Thomas Cassell, for deceptively endorsing their owned and operated online gambling service “CSGO Lotto” without disclosing that they were the owners of the site, as well as paying other well-known social media influencers to promote the site without … Continue Reading

Recent Cases on E-Mail “Spoofing” Coverage Highlight the Impact of Specific Crime Policy Wordings

By Benjamin Duke, Matt Schlesinger, and Scott Levitt [This article was also published as a Client Alert.] Two recent federal district court decisions involving computer “spoofing” scams highlight the uncertainty about whether such incidents may be covered under standard “computer fraud” provisions in widely used crime insurance forms. The conflicting results in these cases provide … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds That Spokeo Plaintiff Has Standing to Proceed on Claim Over Inaccurate Information

The closely watched lawsuit alleging Spokeo, Inc., violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) may proceed, after a federal appeals court ruled — on remand from the Supreme Court — that publication of the inaccuracies alleged by the plaintiff would constitute a sufficiently “concrete” harm to give the plaintiff standing to sue in federal court.  … Continue Reading

Is The Hutchins Indictment Over Malware Unconstitutional?

By Alex Berengaut [This article also was published in Law360.] In May 2017, the “WannaCry” malware was used to launch a worldwide ransomware cyberattack. WannaCry encrypted files on victim computers and demanded a ransom payable in bitcoin to provide the encryption key. The attack was stopped when a British security researcher, Marcus Hutchins, accidentally discovered … Continue Reading

New ECPA Reform Legislation Introduced in the Senate

By Lauren Moxley In late July, three bipartisan bills to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (“ECPA”) were introduced in the Senate. Each of the bills propose different updates to ECPA, which governs law enforcement access to consumer information stored with service providers. As we have discussed here, here, here, and here, the … Continue Reading

A Summary of the Recently Introduced “Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017”

On August 1, 2017, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation (fact sheet) that would establish minimum cybersecurity standards for Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices sold to the U.S. Government.  As Internet-connected devices become increasingly ubiquitous and susceptible to evolving and complex cyber threats, the proposed bill attempts to safeguard the security of executive agencies’ … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit: Data Breach Plaintiffs Plausibly Allege ‘Substantial Risk’ of
ID Theft Sufficient to Support Standing

Customers’ allegations that they face a substantial risk of identity theft as a result of a 2014 data breach are sufficiently plausible to allow their suit against health insurer CareFirst to proceed, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held in an August 1 decision. CareFirst discovered in April 2015 — and announced … Continue Reading

Department of Justice Releases Guidance for Vulnerability Disclosure Programs

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released a voluntary framework for organizations to use in the development of a formal program to receive reports of network, software, and system vulnerabilities, and to disclose vulnerabilities identified in other organizations’ environments.  This framework provides private entities a series of steps to establish a formal program … Continue Reading

California Bill Poised to Change Regime Governing the Internet of Things

A bill pending in the California legislature, if passed, would create new obligations for manufacturers of “connected devices.” S.B. 327 (also known as the “Teddy Bear and Toaster Act”) would operate somewhat differently than existing laws, such as the California Online Privacy Protection Act (“CalOPPA”). Security obligations. Manufacturers of connected devices that sell those devices … Continue Reading

FCC Fines Calling Platform $2.88 Million for TCPA Violations

Last week, the FCC issued a forfeiture order against Dialing Services, LLC (“Dialing Services”) $2,880,000, finding that Dialing Services made automated calls to wireless phones without prior express consent, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  Dialing Services is a platform that offers automated calling services to its customers, and this Order is … Continue Reading

New Jersey Enacts Law Limiting Ability of Retail Establishments to Scan State-Issued IDs

On July 21, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the Personal Information Privacy Protection Act (PIPPA) (S. 1913), which limits the circumstances under which “retail establishments” (retailers) can collect and use information obtained by scanning the state-issued identification cards of customers. The new law limits the ability of retailers to scan the barcode … Continue Reading

FTC Announces “Stick With Security” Initiative

The FTC announced today a new “Stick With Security” Initiative, building on its prior “Start With Security” guide as “part of its ongoing efforts to help businesses ensure that they are taking reasonable steps to protect and secure consumer data.”  Stick With Security constitutes a series of blog posts published each Friday using “hypothetical examples … Continue Reading

New York DFS Publishes FAQs on New Cybersecurity Regulations

As our readers know, New York’s Department of Financial Services (“NY DFS”) released a draft of its new Cybersecurity Regulations on September 13, 2016, and the final version of the regulations went into effect on March 1, 2017 (23 NYCRR 500).  Among other things, the regulations require regulated entities to conduct cyber risk assessments and … Continue Reading

FTC and NHSTA Hold Workshop to Drive Discussion on Connected Cars

On June 28, 2017, The Federal Trade Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hosted a workshop  to examine the consumer privacy and security issues that automated and connected motor vehicles pose.  The workshop’s Public Notice, which solicited comments from stakeholders in advance of the event, highlighted the benefits that connected cars can … Continue Reading

FTC Launches Review of Its Email Marketing Rule

Today the FTC announced that it is undertaking a review of its CAN-SPAM Rule, which sets out the requirements for sending commercial e-mail messages.  Among other things, the CAN-SPAM Rule requires that senders of commercial e-mails provide recipients a mechanism to opt out of receiving commercial e-mails, honor opt-out requests within 10 business days, and include specific disclosures in the … Continue Reading
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