Wendell Bartnick

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The Serious and Immense Impact of a Medical Device Hack

On August 25, 2016, investment firm Muddy Waters Research announced it had taken a short position in St. Jude Medical, Inc., and released a report suggesting a “strong possibility that close to half of” St. Jude revenues were about to disappear for a period of roughly two years because St. Jude’s implantable cardiac devices were allegedly … Continue Reading

New Cybersecurity Rules Now in Effect for Entities Regulated by New York State Department of Financial Services

On March 1, 2017, new cybersecurity rules went into effect for entities regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS). The Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies are designed to help protect business and customer information and the IT systems of the entities that DFS regulates. While the Cybersecurity Requirements took effect on March … Continue Reading

W-2 Phishing Scammers Are Targeting Tech Companies

The W-2 phishing scams are back. Fraudsters have learned that W-2 phishing scams can be highly effective when targeting businesses while they are handling and sending employee income-tax-related documents early in a new year. Once fraudsters obtain the information on W-2 tax forms about employees from businesses, they quickly attempt to commit tax identity theft … Continue Reading

HHS Brings Landmark HIPAA Enforcement Action Against a Business Associate for Alleged Data Security Failures

On June 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a Resolution Agreement with Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (CHCS), settling charges that CHCS failed to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Security Rule. As part of the settlement, CHCS will pay … Continue Reading

Monitoring and Recording Consumers’ Calls in California Can Be a Risky Practice

Many businesses monitor or record customer service, telemarketing, and other telephone calls with consumers to help them improve customer service and for evidentiary reasons. Under federal and many state laws, calls may lawfully be monitored or recorded by businesses as long as those businesses have permission from their employees who participate on the calls. However, … Continue Reading

Tennessee Updates Data Breach Notification Law

The State of Tennessee recently amended its data breach notification statute, Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-18-2107, which is set to go into effect on July 1, 2016. Numerous commentators have proclaimed that the amendment1 marks a watershed moment—that with the enactment of S.B. 2005, Tennessee becomes the first state to eliminate the encryption safe harbor … Continue Reading

HHS Issues HIPAA Guidance for Mobile Health Apps

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued guidance to help mobile application developers analyze whether the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) may apply to them.1 Not every mobile application developer that handles personal health information is subject to HIPAA regulation, and determining whether HIPAA applies is situation-dependent … Continue Reading

WSGR Alert: FTC Settles with Manufacturer of Home Network Routers over Alleged Data Security Flaws

On February 23, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement with computer hardware maker ASUSTeK Computer, Inc. (ASUS). The ASUS settlement highlights the FTC’s position regarding security in the connected device market: connected device manufacturers are responsible for security shortcomings in their devices and are expected to promptly update or patch any identified … Continue Reading

FTC Approves Facial Recognition as Method of Obtaining Parental Consent to Collect Children’s Information

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently approved a new method for website operators and mobile application developers (“operators”) to obtain parental consent to collect personal information from children.1 Under this new method, which is the first to use biometric identifiers to verify that a parent is providing consent for a child, the FTC will permit … Continue Reading

HHS Ends 2015 with Three HIPAA Enforcement Settlements

In late 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced three settlements in which the agency will collect over $5 million in collective penalties for alleged non-compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). In addition to the monetary penalties, each of the settlements requires compliance with a … Continue Reading

No More Crying Wolf—HIPAA Audits Coming in 2016

Following the conclusion of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) pilot audit program in 2012, speculation began about the timing of the permanent program of periodic HIPAA audits. Originally, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) scheduled the permanent audit program for 2014. However, personnel and budget limitations … Continue Reading

HHS Updates Guide to Protecting Electronic Health Information

The Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) recently released a practical guide designed to help healthcare providers and their service providers better understand and implement privacy and security protections for electronic health information.1 Organizations that handle personal health-related information, even when they are subject … Continue Reading

FCC Open Internet Rules Contain Important New Privacy, Data Security, and Transparency Measures

The Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC’s) newly promulgated Open Internet rules (2015 rules)—also known as the net neutrality rules—went into effect on June 12, 2015.1 The new rules apply specifically to broadband Internet access service providers, and not to Internet content, application, and device providers (edge providers). Nonetheless, by design, the rules will have a potentially … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Omnibus TCPA Declaratory Ruling and Order Addressing Numerous Issues Regarding Calling and Texting Consumers

On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its long-anticipated Declaratory Ruling and Order1 addressing twenty-one petitions and requests seeking clarification of, and relief from, various provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the FCC’s implementing regulations.2 The order provides some much-needed clarity in certain areas, but commentators have generally concluded … Continue Reading

California Amends Data Breach Notification Law and State Attorney General’s Data Breach Report May Lead to More Changes

Prompted by data breaches affecting large retailers in the United States, the California legislature recently passed Assembly Bill 1710 (A.B. 1710) to update the state’s breach notification law to require breached entities to provide free credit monitoring services to affected individuals following certain types of data breaches. This change, effective January 1, 2015, was recommended … Continue Reading

Privacy and Data Security Risk Assessments: An Overview

Recent large-scale data breaches provide a stark reminder of the risks and challenges associated with today’s data-driven economy. The exploding number of devices connected to the Internet and amount of information collected about people by organizations make it increasingly important for officers, directors, and senior management to fully understand the privacy and data security risks … Continue Reading

FTC Continues Its Aggressive FCRA Enforcement and Ninth Circuit Lowers Standing Threshold in FCRA Cases

Data may well be the asset of the 21st century, but selling access to certain data about individuals may raise the risk of attracting unwanted attention from both regulators1 and class action litigants. As organizations collect more types of data about consumers, they are more likely to have data that may constitute “consumer report” data … Continue Reading

Breach Notification: Timing Is Everything

A data security incident can be daunting for an organization, quickly spurring it into full-blown crisis mode. Once an incident is discovered, IT and security personnel may work around the clock to attempt to identify and fix security vulnerabilities, assess and mitigate any damage from the incident, and report their findings and efforts to senior … Continue Reading

Barnes & Noble Dodges Suit over PIN Pad Data Breach

A trial court in the Seventh Circuit recently dismissed a data breach class action case against Barnes & Noble (B&N) due to the plaintiffs’ failure to allege actual or imminent injuries.1 This is one of the first data breach cases following the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision about pleading actual damages in Clapper v. Amnesty … Continue Reading

FCC Actions Clarify That Mobile Data Security Rules Apply to Data on Devices

Telecommunications carriers must take precautions to protect call and location data stored on customers’ devices, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).1 As discussed in a prior WSGR Eye on Privacy article,2 the FCC reacted to the carriers’ use of Carrier IQ to collect customers’ call information, despite its data security vulnerabilities. The FCC sought … Continue Reading

Clapper v. Amnesty International USA: The U.S. Supreme Court Strengthens Defendants’ Shield Against Privacy Class Actions

One of the most common and effective defenses raised by privacy class action defendants has been lack of standing. Federal courts have jurisdiction over cases only when the plaintiff has standing to sue. Therefore, courts will dismiss a case when the plaintiff does not meet the requirements for standing. For standing to exist, the plaintiffs’ … Continue Reading

Cloud Storage Providers Storing Protected Health Information May Be Obligated to Comply with HIPAA Regulations

A recently issued government rule may unknowingly create significant liability and legal risk for many technology enterprises. The expanded definition of “business associates” and related interpretations by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggest that many companies should revisit how they provide services and ask whether they are providing their services to health … Continue Reading
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