In a daylong Privacy Summit at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, the co-chairs of Fox Rothschild’s Privacy & Data Security practice group led a series of panel discussions with leading cybersecurity professionals and government officials.

Elizabeth Litten moderating “Looking Inward: Risk Management Part I”

Fox partner Elizabeth Litten, who serves as Fox Rothschild’s HIPAA Privacy & Security Officer, and partner Mark McCreary, the firm’s Chief Privacy Officer, moderated a two-part panel series examining cyber risk management for protecting company data. The first segment, “Looking Inward: Risk Management Part I,” focused on the best internal company practices, policies and training to combat cyber threats and protect valuable data. “Beyond Company Walls: Risk Management Part II” examined the ways businesses should approach vendor management and cyber insurance to further secure and safeguard their data assets.

Mark McCreary moderating “Beyond Company Walls: Risk Management Part II”

 Litigation partner Scott Vernick moderated the panel “Current State of Affairs in Regulation & Enforcement.” Discussion highlighted the domestic and international data privacy and security obligations relevant to U.S. businesses.

 The summit closed with a thought-provoking keynote address from Eric O’Neill, a former FBI counterintelligence operative who helped apprehend Robert Phillip Hanssen – one of the most notorious spies in U.S. history – who provided memorable insights about corporate diligence and defense.

 View the Event

 

Data privacy and security
Many company leaders appear to understand and recognize cyber threats, but far too few have implemented vital defenses.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, we spearheaded a sweeping, cross-industry survey of chief executives to gauge corporate cybersecurity preparedness. The results revealed important organizational issues.

The survey showed C-suite corporate leaders know their companies’ data is at risk but are not taking adequate measures to protect that data.

  • Awareness: More than half of C-level officers recognized their companies were at high or very high risk of a data breach. Three quarters said they had been hit recently by phishing attacks.
  • Inaction: Despite that, 53 percent of executives admitted their cybersecurity and data privacy budgets are insufficient to respond to a breach. Nearly a third don’t train all their employees on data breach prevention, a basic component of cybersecurity.

“Cyberattacks are growing in frequency and severity,” said Mark McCreary, Fox’s Chief Privacy Officer and co-chair of its Privacy and Data Security Practice. “Companies should take steps to manage that risk and prevent breaches, but it requires a clear-eyed, systematic approach.”

Survey findings offer big-picture takeaways to bolster a company’s approach to cyber threats and their prevention. The report examines five key areas of cybersecurity readiness:

  • Breach response plans
  • Budget priorities
  • Cyber liability policies
  • Determining risk severity
  • Training effectiveness

How does your organization compare? Read the full report.

 

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on May 25, 2018.  This gives companies only two months to prepare for and comply with the GDPR. Companies should be conducting data mapping to identify all cross-border transfers of personal data so that they can determine the best way to comply with the GDPR requirements.

Illustration of binary code rippling out from the European Union flag, in relation to GDPRThe GDPR has been, perhaps, the most widely talked about privacy regulation for the past year and a half after it was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016 because of the sweeping changes it will bring to how the global digital economy operates with regard to processing personal data. GDPR will apply to all EU-based companies, irrespective of whether personal data is processed inside or outside of the EU. The GDPR will also apply to companies outside the EU that offer goods or services to individuals in the EU and/or that monitor or track the online behavior or activities of individuals in the EU.

Any transfer of personal data to a third country can take place only if certain conditions are met by the data exporter and the data importer. If a company is transferring EU personal data outside of the EU, that company must identify a valid transfer mechanism to legally transfer that personal data.  The most widely used transfer mechanisms are: (1) transfers within the EU and adequacy rulings; (2) appropriate safeguards; and (3) derogations.

Transfers Within the EU and Adequacy Rulings

Under GDPR, personal data can be moved between EU member states (and Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland) without restriction.

Cross-border transfers may also take place without a need to obtain further authorization if the European Commission determines that the third country’s body of national law ensures an adequate level of protection for personal data. The European Commission considers several factors when determining if the country has an adequate level of protection, including the specific processing activities, access to justice, international human rights norms, the general and sectoral law of the country, legislation concerning public security, defense and national security, public order and criminal law.

Appropriate Safeguards

In the absence of an adequacy determination, cross border personal data transfers are permitted if the controller and processor use EU-approved safeguards. The most widely used transfer mechanisms are binding corporate rules, model contractual clauses, and certification mechanisms (e.g. Privacy Shield).

Binding corporate rules (BCRs) are internal codes of conduct adopted by multinational companies to allow transfers between different branches of the organization. BCRs are a favored mechanism because of their flexibility, ability for tailored customization, and a lower administrative burden once implemented.

Model contractual clauses are legal terms contained in a template data processing agreement drafted and ratified by the EU. Model contractual clauses can be burdensome because companies are required to enter new model contractual clauses to cover each new third party and each new purpose for processing or transfer.

Because the European Commission does not recognize the U.S. as an adequate third country, U.S. companies can comply by certifying under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield that they meet the high data protection standards set out in the Privacy Shield.  The Privacy Shield remains subject to the same criticism that ultimately resulted in the downfall of its predecessor (Safe Harbor), that it does not fully protect the fundamental rights of individuals provided under EU privacy laws.

Derogations

In the absence of either an adequacy decision or the implementation of an appropriate safeguard, a cross-border transfer can still take place in limited circumstances, where an exception applies. These circumstances include situations where the individual explicitly consents after having been informed of the risks of data transfer in the absence of an adequacy decision and appropriate safeguards, the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the parties, or if the transfer is necessary for important reasons of public interest. The permitted derogations are fact-specific and are generally not intended to be relied upon as a company’s primary transfer mechanism.

Guidance for GDPR Compliance

Transferring personal data out of the EU without a valid transfer mechanism can result in significant fines and increased regulatory oversight.  Beginning on May 26, 2018, compliance with the GDPR will be essential for companies engaging in cross-border transfers of personal data.

To comply with the GDPR, companies should first identify and map all cross-border data flows.  Companies should then examine and assess for each of these flows whether the receiving country is in the EU (and Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) or is otherwise deemed adequate.  If not, the company should consider whether any appropriate safeguards have been put in place, and/or whether any specific derogations apply.

Recent news that Facebook has suspended research firm Cambridge Analytica for improperly collecting users’ personal data without their knowledge may not constitute a classic “data breach,” but it poses real risks for the popular social media platform.

Fox Rothschild Partner Scott Vernick, founder of the firm’s Privacy & Data Security Practice, discussed the implications for Facebook, and the next steps the company should take, in an interview with the TD Ameritrade Network.

“Consumers do select companies and want to do business with companies that have control over their data and that can secure their data,” Scott said. “In turn, If you lose consumer confidence, you lose advertiser confidence, so that is the challenge for Facebook.”

View the full interview here.

Roger Severino, director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, told HIMSS18 conference attendees this week that he plans no slowdown in HIPAA enforcement.

“I come from the Department of Justice Office for Civil Rights; I bring that mindset to OCR. We’re still looking for big, juicy egregious cases” for enforcement, Severino said, according to this report in Data Breach Today. That doesn’t mean smaller companies should assume they are off the radar, he added.

He said 2017 was OCR’s second biggest year for HIPAA settlements with $19.4 million collected, second only to 2016 in which OCR collected nearly $25 million.

Restaurant businesses deal with a large amount of personal data.

The National Restaurant Association released a must-read guide for restaurant operators on how to increase their cybersecurity efforts.

Franchising, Licensing & Distribution partner Eleanor Vaida Gerhards explains on the Franchise Law Update blog how the guide takes the cybersecurity framework prepared by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and adapts it for use in the restaurant hospitality industry.

Because restaurants have to handle the personal information of their customers, they’re constantly at risk for data compromises that carry heavy fines.

Even the most cyber savvy restaurant systems should find the guide full of useful information. Access the guide and read Eleanor’s full post here.

The cost of cybercrime continues to rise, driven by increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals and a growing pool of new and often unsophisticated internet users, according to a new report from internet security firm McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“Cybercrime is relentless, undiminished, and unlikely to stop. It is just too easy and too
rewarding, and the chances of being caught and punished are perceived as being too low,” the report states.

The report, “Economic Impact of Cybercrime—No Slowing Down,” estimates cybercrime costs the global economy $600 billion a year, or 0.8 percent of global GDP, up from $500 billion in 2014.

It lists five trends that are most responsible for the increase:

  • Cybercriminals adopting new technologies.
  • Growth in new internet users, often from countries with weak cybersecurity.
  • The rise and growth of Cybercrime-as-a-Service.
  • Growth in cybercrime “centers” such as Brazil, India, North Korea, and Vietnam.
  • Improved black markets and digital currencies facilitating monetization of stolen data.

Security magazine also published a summary of the report.

Europe map with padlock symbolizing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)With the European’s Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) taking effect in less than 100 days, the interest of many U.S. Companies has been piqued as to how the GDPR may affect their overseas and internet-based businesses.  This article on CFO.com, “Why GDPR Matters,” which I co-authored with Bill Shipp from Vaxient, LLC and Jonathan Marks, CPA from Marcum, LLP, tackles this hot issue and answers why GDPR should matter to U.S. companies in a wide variety of industries.

To assist U.S.-based companies in determining how GDPR may affect their business, Fox Rothschild has also developed a GDPR mobile app called “GDPR Check” (details and download information here).  The app is designed to help companies determine which areas of their business (if any) may require GDPR compliance.

If you have any questions about how GDPR may affect your company, we encourage you to consult a knowledgeable attorney and experienced professionals.

Username and password login fields, online security
Usernames and passwords were exposed in a number of reported data breaches.

According to the monthly report from the Identity Theft Resource Center, the health care industry suffered more data breaches in January than government, educational and financial sectors combined.

Medical and health care-related data breaches accounted for 26.7 percent of the verified 116 data breaches in early 2018. The report defines a breach as a cybersecurity incident in which personal information such as emails, medical records, Social Security numbers or driver’s license information, is exposed and made vulnerable to risk.

While the report identifies “Business” as the sector most affected by data breaches, the category broadly encompasses many types of major service providers in retail, hospitality, trade, transportation and other industries.

For more detailed statistics of data breaches by industry, download the ITRC report.

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is out with its first Semiannual Risk Perspective report under Trump appointee Joseph Otting.

It’s not terribly rosy from a cybersecurity perspective, reports Bloomberg News.

The Comptroller’s office singled out cyberattacks as an increasing risk: “U.S. Banks are facing a growing threat from cyberattackers and making defense against them more complex by relying on third-party firms for support,” Bloomberg reports.

In addition, banks are facing attacks from hackers that exploit weaknesses in clients’ security, the report says. Click here to read the full text of the Semiannual Risk Perspective. The section on cybersecurity is on pages 14 and 15.