Resolution Agreement Requires Medical Imaging Company to Pay $3 Million to Settle Data Breach

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed on May 6, 2019 that Tennessee-based Touchstone Medical Imaging (TMI) entered into a Resolution Agreement (RA) requiring them to pay a $3 million fine to settle a data breach that exposed over 300,000 patients’ protected health information (PHI). In addition to the significant monetary fine, TMI must adopt a corrective action plan that will address shortfalls in the company’s compliance with HIPAA Security and Breach Notification Rules, which is…
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Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices

Earlier this year the Department of Health and Human Services issued a report that in part detailed practices hospitals can use to avoid cyberattacks against the health care industry. The genesis of the report was the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 (CSA) and more specifically, section 405(d). That section calls for “aligning health care industry security approaches.” The forward to the report provides that “industry and government came together under the auspices of the 405(d) task group…focused on building a set of voluntary, consensus-based principles to…
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Cryptocurrency Theft is on the Rise

According to a recent study, losses from theft, fraud, and misappropriation of cryptocurrency increased to $1.2 billion worldwide in the first quarter of 2019, which is already 70 percent of all such activity from 2018.  In fact, it was  reported that hackers used phishing, viruses, and other techniques to steal $41 million in cryptocurrency from Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. This is on the heels of an announcement by Fidelity Investments that it will soon buy and sell bitcoin for institutional customers.…
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There is Still Hope for Federal Privacy Legislation, but it May be Delayed

Highly-publicized data breaches and frequent scandals involving the collection and sale of personal data have made online privacy a bipartisan issue. Lawmakers have proposed a number of solutions. One of those proposals is a bill to create rules governing online privacy, headed by Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal, Brian Schatz, and Maria Cantwell, and Republican Senators Jerry Moran, Roger Wicker, and John Thune. Republicans evidently hope to complete a draft of the bill by the end of May so it can be introduced, debated, and voted…
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Breach Settlements Are Helpful Cybersecurity Reminders

Over the past month, a number of high-profile cybersecurity settlements have been reported. These cases continue to remind companies to take steps both to secure personal data and sensitive materials, including data stored by third-party vendors, as well as to conduct a prompt and comprehensive forensic investigation into any incident to ensure both a factually correct determination, and, if necessary, timely notice to impacted individuals. On April 18, 2019, a multi-million dollar class-action settlement out of Washington State University was approved relating to the theft…
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Walking Back Spokeo: Does the 11th Circuit Make Data Breach Standing Even Easier?

In the context of data-breach litigation, Article III standing has historically been a hurdle for the plaintiffs’ bar. This “standing hurdle” is more than just an oxymoronic phrase.  And after the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016), many believed that would be data-breach plaintiffs would find it even more difficult to establish Article III standing.  Under Spokeo, the data breach plaintiffs are required to show an “injury-in-fact” that is “concrete and particularized” and “actual or imminent, not…
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Employees’ Claim Under the Illinois Biometric Information Protection Act Escapes Arbitration Provision in Employment Agreement

A recent decision by an Illinois appellate court analyzed whether employees’ privacy violation claims fall within their employment agreements’ arbitration provision. At issue was an employer’s use of biometric information collected from its employees and the consequences of doing so in a manner that was allegedly inconsistent with applicable law, and whether those claims are subject to arbitration, rather than litigation in a court of law.  The Illinois Biometric Information Act As the court noted, the Illinois Biometric Information Protection Act was enacted in 2008…
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First Circuit Finds There is No Expectation of Privacy for IP Address Information

In an important holding regarding an individual’s constitutional right to protection from unreasonable searches, the United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, held that a criminal defendant did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in internet protocol (IP) address data that was acquired by the government from a smart phone application company without a search warrant. In U.S. v. Hood, — F.3d. –, 2019 WL 1466943 (1st Cir. 2019), a user of the smart phone messaging application Kik, who went by the username…
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Citrix Falls Victim to Password Spraying Attack

On March 6, the FBI alerted Citrix that cyber criminals accessed at least six terabytes of data stored on its servers. The data theft is particularly concerning because Citrix’s products and services are used by the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies, as well as by governments and militaries. The company, however, states that there is no indication that the security of any Citrix product or service was compromised in the attack. The hackers likely used a technique called password spraying to gain access. Password spraying is the…
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Ohio Cybersecurity Legislation Applicable to Insurers Now In Effect

Ohio’s new law requiring insurance providers to take steps to protect personal information recently went into effect March 20, 2019. Ohio now follows South Carolina as the second state to adopt legislation modeled after the NAIC’s Insurance Data Security Model Law.             The law, codified at new Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3695, applies to all individuals or non-governmental entities required to be authorized, registered, or licensed under Ohio insurance laws (defined as “licensees”). Only smaller licensees that have fewer than 20 employees, less than $5…
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