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Our ongoing effort to summarize the comments (see post here) filed in response to the FTC’s Privacy Framework continues this week as we focus on the Telecommunications and Media industry.
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Another view of the Williams-Sonoma "Zip Code Case"

March 18, 2011 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

We've been writing extensively on the decision out of California in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma and collection of zip codes in credit card transactions. Our colleagues on the West Coast have published a new advisory that makes interesting reading.
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In our continuing effort to summarize the more than 400 comments posted in response to the FTC’s Privacy Framework, we have organized our summaries into the following five industry groups: Retail/Promotion/Advertising; Software/Technology; Telecommunications/Media; Privacy Advocates/Government; and Financial Services/General Business.
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2010 Annual Ponemon Study on Cost of Data Breaches

March 16, 2011 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

The 2010 Ponemon Institute study on the cost of data breaches has been released. The numbers are eye-opening. The average total cost per reporting company in the study was $7.2 million per breach -- the most expensive data breach cost $35.3 million and the least expensive breach cost $780,000.  
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The cost of data breaches keeps on rising. Add another million to this week's HIPAA charges.
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This week, we heard about the first civil money penalty under the HIPAA Privacy Rule for failure to provide access to medical records and willful neglect -- and it was a whopper.
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Privacy Lawsuit Against Data Aggregator Spokeo Dismissed

February 10, 2011 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

The practices of online data aggregator and broker Spokeo, Inc. (“Spokeo”) have come under the scrutiny of consumers and consumer privacy advocates for a while now, and have been on the FTC’s radar since at least last summer when the Center for Democracy and Technology filed a complaint against Spokeo with the Commission.
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FTC Extends Comment Period - UPDATED

January 24, 2011 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

The Federal Trade Commission has extended the public comment period on its December 1, 2010 report -- FTC Privacy Report. The FTC press release says that, in light of the complex issues raised by the report, a number of organizations have requested an extension of the original January 31, 2011 deadline. 
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It's Tax Time -- Use Caution with those W-2 Forms

January 24, 2011 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

We’ve had several questions lately regarding “mixups” with mailings of W-2 forms, and whether certain situations are really “data breaches.”   
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Once again, a public event has piqued the "curiosity" of hospital employees in violation of HIPAA. The University Medical Center (UMC) at Tucson has fired three administrative staff and a contracted nurse for wrongfully accessing medical records related to the shooting rampage that killed six people and seriously injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
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Just before the end of 2010, both the Commerce Department (here) and the Federal Trade Commission released their agencies' respective proposals for privacy frameworks in the United States.
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Yesterday, the Department of Commerce published a notice in the Federal Register, seeking feedback on proposals in its recently-unveiled privacy report.
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Since March 1, 2010, privacy professionals have been waiting for a data breach that could bring an enforcement action under 201 CMR 17.00, the Massachusetts privacy regulations. I just spoke with Paul Roberts, editor of threatpost.com, a blog that posted an entry yesterday regarding a breach that could do just that.  
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Questions Asked by the FTC in the Privacy Report - Part II

December 7, 2010 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

In last week's Privacy Report , the Federal Trade Commission posed a series of questions, soliciting comment and discussion from stakeholders to better inform its final report on the subject, due to be issued mid-2011.
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In all the flurry of privacy-related issues over the last few weeks, a deadline has been slowly creeping up......remember the Red Flags Rule?  
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FTC to Industry on Consumer Privacy: You "Must Do Better" - UPDATE

December 1, 2010 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just released its long-awaited (and 123-page long) report on consumer privacy: "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers"  (the "Report").
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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a settlement with EchoMetrix over charges that it failed to inform parents that information it was collecting about their children would be disclosed to third-party marketers. 
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Recently, a California state appellate court in Cutler v. Dike, No. B210624, 2010 WL 3341663 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 26, 2010), upheld a jury finding that an employer illegally fired an employee because he objected to the manner in which his employer maintained its confidential patient information.
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WellPoint Sued by Indiana AG for $300K - UPDATE

November 1, 2010 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

Back on July 1, we blogged in this space about a very large data breach experienced by health insurer WellPoint. According to WellPoint, over 470,000 individual insurance customers may have been affected by a breach that went unreported for over five months. 
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Encryption -- Not Always the "Silver Bullet"

October 18, 2010 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

Recently, a news bulletin in Health Data Management  highlighted the point that many security experts are trying to make these days: Encryption is not always a "safe harbor."
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