On April 24, 2017, the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced the first HIPAA settlement based on the impermissible disclosure of unsecured electronic protected health information by a wireless service provider. CardioNet, an ambulatory cardiac monitoring service, provides remote mobile monitoring of and rapid response to patients at risk for cardiac arrhythmias, agreed to pay $2.5 million, and to implement a corrective action plan.

As reported by the OCR, in 2012 CardioNet reported to the OCR the theft of a workforce member’s unencrypted laptop containing electronic PHI (“ePHI”) of 1,391 individuals. OCR’s investigation revealed that CardioNet had an insufficient risk analysis and risk management processes in place at the time of the theft.   Additionally, CardioNet’s provided the OCR draft policies and procedures implementing the HIPAA Security standards, and was unable to produce final policies or procedures implementing the security safeguards for ePHI, including mobile devices. Continue Reading Mighty Fine – The High Cost ($2.5 Million) for Unsecured ePHI

I recently decided to reread Dante’s The Inferno. One would not expect guidance on IoT privacy and data security (IotPDS) from a 700 year old text, but The Inferno, particularly Canto III, provides significant direction on consumer IoTPDS issues.  So,

“Abandon All Hope, You Who Enter Here.”

Continue Reading Dante on IoT Security

Internet search giant Yahoo!Inc. (“Yahoo”) revealed last year that it was the victim of two massive data breaches back in 2013 and 2014 that potentially affected more than 1.5 billion users. Investigations into the incidents continue to reveal potentially damning information regarding what the company knew and when, how the company responded to the breaches, and the status of Yahoo’s information security at the time of the breaches. The details that have emerged paint the picture of a company that failed to adhere to basic data security requirements. Unfortunately, the technology company will likely become a case-study in what happens when an organization fails to follow security best practices.

Continue Reading Yahoo Data Breaches: A Lesson in What Not to Do

Talking with bestie on social media!Remember when Edward Snowden showed the world how easy it is for your cell phone to record everything you say? Initial gut reaction for many was something along the lines of disbelief to shock. As time went by, many people took comfort in the idea that the government could not care less about their day-to-day activities. After all—for most of us—our day consists of the daily routine of workout, work, and daily errands. Yet, spying is not limited to the intelligence community. As we have seen again and again, health information is particularly valuable. Devices such as Internet cameras (think security cameras) or perhaps even web cams (the little lens that stares from the top of your laptop) pose risks to health data. Many health entities have not considered the unique risks posed by such devices, but it is a risk the Federal Trade Commission is not ignoring. Continue Reading IoT Security: Same…Err…Stuff, Different Day

Computer virus infection skull of death flat illustration for websitesYou recently engaged a contract HR recruiter to work onsite helping with increased hiring. The contractor is reviewing hundreds of job applications for several new job postings. Not surprisingly, many of the job applications have a PDF resume attached. The contract recruiter clicks on one of the attached resumes and enables the associated macro to run. Suddenly, the recruiter gets a screen notifying him that unless a ransom is paid, the victim will not be able to access their files. Not the best way to start off the week for HR, IT, or security employees. Continue Reading HR Bewar(y): Job applications and resumes could have ransomware attached

Image copyright Catherine Lane 2015The beginning of a new year offers the perfect opportunity for companies to review their privacy and data security practices and make any needed adjustments. Since it is a matter of “when,” not “if,” your company will be the target of a data breach, your organization should proactively ensure that you are prepared for the inevitable. We suggest all companies resolve to do the following in 2017 to set themselves on the right course for the year: Continue Reading New Year’s ‘resolutions’ for privacy and data security

White House, U.S._166211048As the shock of Trump’s surprise election win gives way to processing the consequences of a Trump presidency, one issue that has not gotten as much attention is privacy and data security.

Trump did not say much on this topic on the campaign trail and his “vision” for cybersecurity on his campaign website is relatively thin. But we can glean some information from his public comments. As always with Trump, unpredictability is his trademark, so it is anyone’s guess whether his actions going forward will be consistent with his past statements. Continue Reading What a Trump presidency may mean for privacy and data security

Single or divorced woman alone missing a boyfriendAny agreement between two parties begins with the rosy optimism that the good times will last forever. In the world of technology licensing and development, however, we know this is rarely the case. While this blog has previously considered data security oversight by the board of directors of the company, it is also important for a company’s legal and procurement teams to establish a plan for the security, use, and transition of its data throughout the contracting process. These issues are particularly important in highly regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services. Continue Reading After the Love Has Gone: Anticipating Data Issues in Your Contract Process

risksigniStock_000016809464_LargeNew York proposed first-of-its-kind cybersecurity regulations on Sept. 13, 2016. The proposed rules would apply only to banks, insurers, and other financial services companies regulated by the New York Department of Financial Services (“DFS”). However, the sweeping nature of the regulations and New York’s role as a banking center are likely to make the rules a model for other states. Continue Reading New York proposes first cybersecurity rules

Bank SignWith all due respect to noted astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, this blog post will attempt to explain the bank privacy universe in a tiny package. Many tend to think “bank privacy” began with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLB” and technically The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999). But this perspective misstates the origin of bank privacy and understates its breadth and depth.

Rather bank privacy is genetically coded into the customer relationship and has been since the beginning. Perhaps “privacy” is even the wrong word as “confidential” seems more apt. Protecting bank customer confidences has long been recognized on both state and federal levels, at common law and in numerous statutes pre-dating GLB. For perspective, in 1995 I revised my bank’s deposit agreement and made extensive reference to customer confidentiality and the bank’s information sharing practices, embodying almost all the concepts later enshrined in GLB. Continue Reading A Brief History of Bank Privacy