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The Phantom Menace: Office Depot Settles with FTC Over Fake Virus Scans

April 12, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose, Elana Safner

Office Depot and its tech support provider, Support.com, proved to be anything but “supportive” after allegedly providing false malware scan results and conning customers into paying for repairs and technical services that, in many cases, they did not need.
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Massachusetts Data Breach Changes – Coming April 11!

April 10, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

Significant changes to the Massachusetts data breach notification law take effect on April 11, 2019.   You can view the amendment here.   If you haven’t looked at your written information security plan, or WISP, in a while, now’s the time to dust it off.  If you still haven’t gotten around to implementing one as required by 201 CMR 17 back in 2010, now’s the time to get going. 
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On June 28, 2018, California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and then further amended it on September 23, 2018. CCPA breaks new state law privacy ground, and this post addresses some of the confusion surrounding the exemptions for health information.
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CCPA Amendment May Answer Employee Question

March 28, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

We’ve now presented two webinars (links will be posted ICYMI) on the scope of the California Consumer Privacy Act, and have been talking with scores of clients about preparation and planning.   One of the most frequently asked questions is whether the CCPA really applies to employee personal data processe by employers for business purposes.   
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Employers Beware: Judge Greenlights Employee’s Privacy Lawsuit Over Dropbox Access

March 28, 2019 | Blog | By Katharine Beattie, Cynthia Larose, Jennifer Budoff

Many employers maintain policies limiting their employees’ expectation of privacy in the workplace, including policies that eliminate any expectation of privacy when using company-issued electronic devices. While employers may think that having such a policy would protect them from invasion of privacy claims under the Fourth Amendment or state law, a recent federal court decision may cause employers to think otherwise. This post examines this decision and provides best practices for avoiding issues with employees’ privacy interests.
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Brexit and UK-US data transfers: What’s the plan?

March 26, 2019 | Blog | By Susan Foster

Despite the overall political uncertainty about Brexit, worries about a sudden stop to personal data transfers from the UK to the US are misplaced, deal or no deal.  There is, in fact, a plan, and it’s a reasonable, practical plan.
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Musical.ly’s COPPA Failure Falls Flat at the FTC; Will Pay Note-Worthy Fine

March 6, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose, Elana Safner

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has handed down its largest civil penalty ever for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). Musical.ly, now known as TikTok after a 2018 merger, agreed to a fine of $5.7 million for its violations. The settlement was significant not only because of its record amount, but also because it includes a specific agreement on how the website will operate going forward.
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Last week, California State Senator Jackson and state Attorney General Becerra introduced a new bill, Senate Bill 561.  If passed, it will greatly expand the consumers’ right to bring private lawsuits for violations of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”).  SB 561 will: (1) provide for a private right of action for all CCPA violations—not just those stemming from a data breach; (2) eliminate the 30-day safe-harbor provision that currently allows companies to cure the violation and thereby avoid a private right of action; and (3) prevent companies from seeking specific opinions from the Attorney General and instead allow the AG’s office to provide “general guidance” via publications.
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Insights and News – Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

February 27, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

This month, Mintz’s TCPA Digest reviews the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) adoption of a proposal to extend the Truth in Caller ID rules to calls originating outside the United States, and to expand the scope of covered communications services.  The Digest also covers the FCC’s first-ever report on illegal robocalls, the push for call authentication and call blocking technology, and the renewed push in Congress to pass the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act.
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ICYMI – Overview of California Consumer Privacy Act Webinar

February 22, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

We presented our first in a series of webinars digging into the California Consumer Privacy Act.   If you registered, you should have received a link to the recording and the materials.   If you missed it, we’ll help you out.  To access the webinar recording, please click here.   The materials can be downloaded here.  

Our next installment is coming up on March 27th and will address similarities and differences between the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and the CCPA.
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California Governor Floats “Data Dividend” Proposal

February 16, 2019 | Blog | By Brian Lam

On the heels of the passing one of the nation’s leading pieces of privacy legislation, the California Consumer Privacy Protection Act (“CCPA”), Governor Newsom, used his first “State of the State” address, to highlight his position on data protection and privacy, by saying that technology companies “make billions of dollars collecting, curating and monetizing our personal data have a duty to protect it” and that “Consumers have a right to know and control how their data is being used.”   
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Federal Trade Commission: No Changes to CAN-SPAM Rules

February 13, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

There will be one less new privacy regulation to worry about in 2019. In June of last year, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it would review its rules implementing the CAN-SPAM Act, regulating unsolicited commercial email.   Yesterday, the FTC announced that it had received 92 comments during the review process, and concluded that no changes to its CAN-SPAM Rules were needed at this time. 

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California AG’s Office Gets Public Input on CCPA

January 29, 2019 | Blog | By Brian Lam

The California Attorney General’s Office (CAGO) is conducting a series of public hearings around the state to gather input on the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). We attended the CAGO’s January 25th, 2019 hearing.  The panel of CAGO staff informed those in attendance to anticipate a Notice of Proposed Regulatory Action in the fall of 2019. 
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No Harm, Still a Foul: Illinois Supreme Court Rules on the Collection of Biometric Data

January 29, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose, Elana R. Safner

Leaving its fingerprints all over the privacy debate, the Illinois Supreme Court handed down a ruling that will significantly impact litigation under the state’s unique Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA” or “Act”), creating a potential boon for plaintiffs. In its January 25 opinion in Stacy Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., the court unanimously sided with the plaintiff, ruling that actual harm is not a requirement to establish standing under BIPA.
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It’s Data Privacy Day: Be #PrivacyAware

January 28, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

Happy Data Privacy Day!  Join the #PrivacyAware conversation all day long on Twitter. Watch the Data Privacy Data Event online from LinkedIn in San Francisco.   Click here to watch at 2 PM PST/5 PM EST.
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WEBINAR – The California Consumer Privacy Law is Here. Get Prepared.

January 17, 2019 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose, Brian Lam

We have been actively covering the California Consumer Privacy Act on our blog as it evolves including here and here.  Please join us on February 6th  for the first webinar in our California Consumer Privacy Act Series. 
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Mintz Member Cynthia Larose and her thought leadership on all things Privacy has been selected for a National Law Review  “Go-To Thought Leadership Award.” The inaugural awards recognize 65 exceptional authors and legal organizations for their reporting of complex legislative and litigation news, as well as their strategic insight and overall legal industry knowledge.
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Oath (f/k/a AOL) Agrees to Pay Record Settlement over COPPA Violations

December 12, 2018 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose, Brian Lam

Recently, Oath, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Verizon Communications agreed to pay $4.95 million to settle charges from the New York attorney general’s office that the company’s online advertising business was violating federal law.
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HIPAA Penalties For Failure to Cut Off Access To Former Employee

December 12, 2018 | Blog | By Kristen Marotta

It has been a busy few weeks for HIPAA enforcement. On Tuesday, the Office for Civil Rights announced its third resolution of a HIPAA breach in as many weeks. In this latest matter, OCR announced that Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC), a critical access hospital in Colorado, has agreed to both pay $111,400 to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) as well as adopt a comprehensive, two-year corrective action plan (CAP) to address and settle potential HIPAA violations.
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Recently, Amazon refused (registration required) to provide data from an Amazon Echo device in a case involving the a double homicide in response to an order issued by a New Hampshire state judge.  Prosecutors believe that the Echo may have recorded data relevant to the crime; a potential perpetrator has already been charged. 
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