On May 15, 2019, President Trump issued Executive Order 13873 (“E.O. 13873”) and declared a national emergency in response to increasing actions by “foreign adversaries” to create and exploit “vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services” supplied to the U.S.  E.O. 13873 broadly prohibits persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in information and communications technology or services transactions with “foreign adversaries” that: (i) pose undue sabotage or subversion risks to U.S. information and communications technology or services, (ii) pose an undue risk to critical U.S. infrastructure or the U.S. digital economy, or (iii) otherwise pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security.  Within one hundred fifty (150) days of E.O. 13873, the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with other executive agencies, will issue formal rules or regulations which will identify the specific “foreign adversaries” who are subject to E.O. 13873’s prohibitions, establish criteria for determining the types of transactions that are prohibited by E.O. 13873 and establish procedures for obtaining licensing to conduct transactions that would otherwise be prohibited by E.O. 13873 and its associated rules and regulations.

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White gift box wrapped with vibrant red bow and ribbon isolatedTalk about a “bank holiday” – under a settlement deal filed in court yesterday, Target will pay $39.4 million  to a litigation class of banks and credit unions to settle financial institution claims related to the retailers’ massive 2013 data breach, which compromised at least 40 million credit cards. The preliminary settlement is the first time a retailer has agreed to directly absorb financial institutions’ costs from a data breach, such as fraud losses and the expense of issuing new debit and credit cards.

Under the terms of this settlement, Target will pay up to $20.25 million directly to the settlement class and $19.1 million to fund MasterCard’s Account Data Compromise Program relating to the breach. The settlement will apply to all U.S. financial institutions that issued payment cards identified as having been at risk from the breach and that did not previously release their claims against Target by signing on to separate deals. A final approval hearing on the settlement is set for next year.
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Do data breaches cause lasting reputational damage for organizations? We all know breach response is expensive –  just ask Target, which posted data breach-related costs of $162 million through fiscal year 2014, plus another $129 million for the first half of FY2015, all net of $90 million in cyber insurance. That’s a lot of zeros, and it’s not over yet. According to Ponemon’s 2015 Cost of Data Breach study, the average U.S. cost of a “malicious or criminal breach” is $230 per compromised record, $210 per record for a “system glitch” breach, and $198 per record for “human error” breaches. The U.S. breaches in the study averaged more than 28,000 compromised records and an average total cost of over $6.5 million.

But beyond response hard costs, the X factor for many companies is a fear of crippling reputational damage in the wake of a large-scale data breach. As it turns out, such fears may be unfounded, and may also be unhelpful.
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shopping-cartsiStock_000000255866_MediumCosts continue to mount for Target as the company works to put its massive 2013 data breach behind it. Target and Visa recently announced an agreement for Target to reimburse Visa card issuers as much as $67 million for costs associated with the historic breach. The settlement is considerably larger, and more likely to succeed, than the proposed $19 million deal between Target and MasterCard that issuers previously rejected as too low.
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wolf-eyesiStock_000012725226_MediumCompanies suffering a data breach have a lot to worry about. High on that list is Norman Siegel, a founding member of Stueve Siegel Hanson LLP. Siegel is a prominent data breach plaintiffs’ lawyer – he helped lead the team representing consumers in the consolidated Target data breach lawsuits, and currently serves as lead counsel representing consumers in the pending Home Depot data breach litigation. He also is co-chair of the Privacy and Data Breach Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice.

I recently asked Siegel for his thoughts on the current landscape of data breach consumer litigation. Here is what he shared.
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arrow-bullseyeiStock_000043470790_FullThe Target data breach disrupted the 2013 holiday shopping season, shook the retail industry, and shocked many who assumed that a nationwide retailer would have the security controls in place to prevent such an attack. The breach exposed credit card data of 40 million individuals and personal data of approximately 70 million consumers. A quarter billion dollars and a slew of lawsuits later, lessons have emerged and questions remain.
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