We have entered an era where our commercial transactions are increasingly being conducted online without any face-to-face interaction, and without the traditional safeguards used to confirm that a party is who they purport to be. The attenuated nature of many online relationships has created an opportunity for criminal elements to steal or spoof online identities and use them for monetary gain. As such, the ability of one party to authenticate the identity of the other party in an online transaction is of key importance.To counteract this threat, the business community has begun to develop new authentication procedures to enhance the reliability of online identities (so that transacting parties have a higher degree of confidence that the party on the other end of an electronic transaction is who they say they are). At the same time, the law is beginning to recognize a duty to authenticate. This blogpost post looks at two online banking breach cases to examine what courts are saying about authentication and commercially reasonable security.
So, you thought our cloud series was over? Wishful thinking. It is time to talk about ethics. Yes, ethics. Historically, lawyers and technologists lived in different worlds. The lawyers were over here, and IT was over there. Here's the reality: Technology - whether we are talking cloud computing, ediscovery or data security generally - IS very much the business of lawyers. This post focuses on three recent documents, ranging from formal opinions to draft issue papers, issued by three very prominent Bar associations -- the American Bar Association (ABA), the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), and the State Bar of California (CA Bar). These opinions and papers all drive home the following points: as succinctly stated by the ABA, "[l]awyers must take reasonable precautions to ensure that their clients' confidential information remains secure"; AND lawyers must keep themselves educated on changes in technology and in the law relating to technology. The question, as always, is what is "reasonable"? Also, what role should Bar associations play in providing guidelines/best practices and/or mandating compliance with particular data security rules? Technology, and lawyer use of technology, is evolving at a pace that no Bar association can hope to meet. At the end of the day, do the realities of the modern business world render moot any effort by the Bar(s) to provide guidance or impose restrictions? Read on and tell us - and the ABA - what you think.
An odd result -- we know. We previously reported on the lawsuit filed by Experi-Metal, Inc. ("EMI") and the subsequent motion for summary judgment (and briefs) filed by Comerica Bank to have the case dismissed. As reported in July, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has issued a ruling on Comerica's motion for summary judgment. To make a long story short, the Court denied Comerica's motion and this case appears headed toward trial (or potentially settlement). In the course of its ruling the Court found that Comerica had utilized commercially reasonable security procedures. However, that ruling had more to do with the language in Comerica's contracts than an actual substantive analysis of the reasonableness of Comerica's security. In this blogpost, we take a look at the Court's ruling.
Back in February 2010, we reported on an online banking lawsuit filed by by Experi-Metal Inc. ("EMI") against Comerica (the "EMI Lawsuit"). As you might recall this case involved a successful phishing attack that allowed the bad guys to get the EMI's online banking login credentials and wire transfer about $560,000 from EMI's account (the original amount was $1.9 million, but Comerica was able to recover some of that). The bad guys were able to foil Comerica's two factor token-based authentication with a man in the middle attack. Comerica did not reimburse EMI for the loss, and this lawsuit resulted. In April 2010, Comerica filed a motion for summary judgment in order to dismiss the case. The motion has been fully briefed by both sides, and this blogpost looks at the arguments being made by the parties
It often makes sense to refer to an information security management framework or standard in an outsourcing contract, but this is usually not very meaningful unless the customer also understands what particular security measures the vendor will apply to protect the customer's data.
Nearly every day, businesses are entering into arrangements to save the enterprise what appear tobe significant sums on information technology infrastructure by placing corporate data ''in the cloud.'' Win-win, right? Not so fast. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many of these deals are negotiated quickly, or not negotiated at all, due to the perceived cost savings. Indeed, many are closed not in a conference room with signature blocks, ceremony, and champagne, but in a basement office with the click of a mouse. Unfortunately, with that single click, organizations may be putting the security of their sensitive data (personal information, trade secrets, intellectual property, and more) at risk, and may be overlooking critical compliance requirements of privacy and data security law (not to mention additional regulations). My article "Contracting for Cloud Computing Services: Privacy and Data Security Considerations," published this week in BNA's Privacy & Security Law Report, explores a number of contractual provisions that organizations should consider in purchasing cloud services. You can read the full article here, reprinted with the permission of BNA.
Security governance is often well established in large organizations, but privacy governance typically lags. It is time for a broader approach to "information governance" that focusses on the kinds of sensitive data handled by the enterprise and establishes policies to assure compliance and effective risk management, as well as better customer, employee, government, and business relations.
This week, I will be providing short updates from the IAPP Global Privacy Summit in Washington, DC. The conference will be in full swing tomorrow, and I will report on various panels and topics of interest. In the meantime, as I prepare to see old and new friends at the Welcome Reception this evening, a few thoughts on what I expect to see and hear a lot over the next few days.
We are seeing more and more private litigation and regulatory enforcement actions around the issue of what constitutes "reasonable security." This week we see another. Once again the FTC asserts that a company has failed to take "reasonable and appropriate security measures" to protect personal information. Yesterday, in its 27th case challenging inadequate data security practices by organizations that handle sensitive consumer information, the FTC announced settlement of its complaint against Dave & Buster's, the restaurant chain. The FTC alleged in its complaint that, from April 30, 2007 to August 28, 2007, a hacker exploited vulnerabilities in Dave & Buster's systems to install unauthorized software and access approximately 130,000 credit and debit cards.
As the partners of InfoLawGroup make our way through the sensory overload of the RSA Conference this week, I am reminded (and feel guilty) that it has been a while since I posted here. I have good excuses - have simply been too busy with work - but after spending several days in the thought-provoking environment that is RSA, I had to break down and write something. A few observations, from a lawyer's perspective, based on some pervasive themes.