Department of Defense Releases Cybersecurity Model Certification Required in Contract Bids

The Department of Defense released last week its new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which will require at least some companies bidding on defense contracts to certify that they are compliant with at least the basic level of cybersecurity standards to work on government contracts.  The CMMC is a certification procedure that ensures that contractors have the controls in place to protect sensitive data, including Federal contract information and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). The Department of Defense put these measures in place in furtherance of… Continue Reading

Robocall Legislation Likely to Move Forward for White House Approval

Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee issued a joint statement early November advising that they have reached a deal on anti-robocall legislation which will seek to stave off those pesky robocalls United States consumers receive, often at the most inopportune times. Robocalls have been a growing problem in the U.S., based in large part on their solicitation of the disclosure of personal information to unknown organizations (who are typically based outside of the U.S.), often resulting in identity… Continue Reading

Millennials Reporting More Electronic Scams, but Smaller Losses than Individuals Over 40

Scams, whether initiated online or over the phone, affect people of all ages. However, to the surprise of some, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has found that individuals in the millennial generation, which the FTC defined as people between 20 and 39, are 25 percent more likely to report losing money to fraud from electronic scams.  In its report, the FTC analyzed the reporting rates of fraud from September 2017 to August 2019, including the following types: 1. Online shopping 2. Business imposter scams… Continue Reading

Decision to Dismiss Suit Seeking to Hold Facebook Liable for Hamas Attacks Affirmed by the Second Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to hold Facebook, Inc. liable for providing Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist organization who is a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization, a communication platform to encourage and enable acts of violence in Israel. Over three years ago, victims, estates, and family members of victims of terrorist attacks in Israel brought suit against Facebook alleging that Facebook provided material support to the terrorist organization by failing to remove content posted… Continue Reading

House Representatives Ask Facebook to Halt Moving Forward with its Cryptocurrency

In the beginning of July 2019, four members of Congress in leadership roles in various committees in the House of Representatives issued a letter to Facebook’s executives calling for Facebook “to agree to a moratorium on any movement forward” with its proposed cryptocurrency, Libra, and proposed digital wallet, Calibra, citing concerns over “privacy, trading, national security, and monetary policy[.]”    In June 2019, Facebook announced its plan, which had been in development for a year, to create a cryptocurrency backed by financial assets assembled by the… Continue Reading

Apple Accused of Unlawfully Disclosing Users’ iTunes Data

Drawing on public criticism of Apple Inc.’s (Apple) privacy practices, in a class action complaint filed in the Northern District of California on May 24, 2016, several Apple users have accused Apple of selling its customers’ personal information and iTunes listening history to third-parties in an effort to “supplement its revenues and enhance the formidability of its brand[.]” The named plaintiffs in the proposed class action are Leigh Wheaton, a resident of Rhode Island, and Jean and Trevor Paul, residents of Michigan. Each have alleged… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

Washington State Cyberstalking Law Deemed Unconstitutional

On February 22, a federal judge in the State of Washington held that Washington’s cyberstalking law impermissibly inhibits constitutionally protected speech in violation of the First Amendment. The case of Rynearson v. Ferguson was commenced by Richard Rynearson, III against Washington State’s Attorney General and county prosecuting attorney under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 for the purpose of enjoining the state’s enforcement of its cyberstalking statute, Wash. Rev. Code Section 9.61.260. Rynearson is an online author and activist who regularly writes online posts and comments directed… Continue Reading

National Counterintelligence and Security Center Launches Effort to Protect Industry Against State Actors

On January 7, 2019, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), which coordinates counter-intelligence efforts within the U.S. government, announced that it would begin disseminating its “Know the Risk, Raise Your Shield” materials in an effort to assist the private sector in guarding against threats from foreign intelligence entities and other adversaries.  This campaign appears to have been prompted by the Trump administration’s efforts to drive U.S. companies to better protect their trade secrets from foreign hackers.  This comes on the heels of recent cyber-attacks… Continue Reading

Russian Company Whose Employee Was Charged With Election Meddling Sues Facebook to Have Account Restored

A Russian company known as Federal Agency of News, LLC (FAN), whose accountant was indicted by federal prosecutors for her alleged role in “Project Lakhta” – a Russian interference operation in political and electoral systems targeting populations in, among other places, the United States – has sued Facebook alleging it is a legitimate news outlet whose Facebook account must be restored. On November 20, 2018, FAN and its sole shareholder, Evgeniy Zubarev, commenced suit against Facebook in the United States District Court, Northern District of Continue Reading