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IT Law Alerts

The Impact of Drones Near Airports

Over the past two months, drone sightings have caused closures at international airports, both in the U.S. and abroad. In December 2018, drone activity at London’s Gatwick Airport resulted in the airport being closed for 33 hours with multiple flight cancellations,...

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Can Smart Cities be Hacked?

Earlier this year, citizens in Hawaii experienced a false missile attack alert resulting from employee error. The potential for similar incidents caused by hackers in so-called “smart cities” has been identified by researchers at IBM X-Force Red and cybersecurity firm...

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Cybersecurity Risk Tops CEO Concerns

Global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson recently released its 2018 Management Liability (Directors & Officers) U.S. Survey. When asked the question “to what extent are the following risks a concern for your organization in the coming year,” 80 percent of the...

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Network in the Sky in our Future?

Network in the Sky In our Future? Tech start up Elefante Group, Inc., in partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation, has filed a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding a design for a platform of atmospheric-based service...

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Judicial Insights into Online Defamation

A federal court of appeals has rejected the notion that “circulation” rather than “publication” of allegedly defamatory material online and through email distribution is sufficient to state a claim. In late 2013/early 2014, financial publisher The Deal, LLC posted...

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A New Cyber Risk Management Partnership

In what is being touted as a “first” in cyber risk management solutions, tech giants Apple and Cisco have announced a partnership with Aon plc (“Aon”) and Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS). An organization adopting the solution would undergo a cyber...

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“Bug Bounties” in the Spotlight

Some companies offer monetary rewards to so-called “white hat” hackers to find security bugs in the company’s systems. These “bug bounties” can prove useful in identifying vulnerabilities and preventing breaches. Care must be taken, however, that a bug bounty...

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The Legal Side of Bitcoin

Public interest in Bitcoin grows as the value of the cryptocurrency has increased of late. Some view cryptocurrency as the wave of the future; others consider trading in it a gamble. How do countries and other levels of government treat cryptocurrency? In the United...

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Connected Vehicle Hacking Lawsuits

Following the hacking of a Jeep Cherokee during a staged experiment in 2015, Fiat Chrysler USA (FCA) recalled 1.4 million 2013-2015 vehicles. The incident also prompted the filing of a proposed class action lawsuit against FCA in an Illinois federal district court...

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Exempting Cybersecurity Plans from FOIA

The Michigan House of Representatives recently approved a bill that would amend the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to prevent public disclosure of organization’s cybersecurity assessments, cybersecurity plans, cybersecurity incidents and cybersecurity...

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The SEC Database Hack

A few weeks ago, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that its Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system was hacked in 2016. Rather than issuing a news release specific to the discovery of the event, the SEC included information...

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Emoji as Evidence

Emoji, the popular icons used in texts and social media posts (and their predecessor, emoticons), are increasingly being asserted as evidence of intent in both civil and criminal matters. What do “‍✌??” or “:-P” mean? They may have multiple meanings, depending on the...

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Implications of the Equifax Data Breach

Last week, credit reporting agency Equifax announced that data of 143 million consumers was potentially compromised through a “website vulnerability” that occurred from mid-May through July, 2017. Equifax discovered the breach on July 29th, but waited nearly six weeks...

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FCC Considers Robocall Reforms

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been addressing two aspects of robocalls (unsolicited calls being placed to consumers) and caller ID spoofing (impersonating a different phone number to evade call blocking or filtering tools). First, the FCC is focusing...

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The Impact of Moderating Web Content

Many online platforms use moderators to screen user content submissions. How does the use of moderators impact a site’s ability to successful defend itself against copyright infringement claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act? The Ninth Circuit Court of...

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Court: Winn-Dixie Website Violates ADA

After a two-day bench trial, a federal court in Florida has ruled that grocery chain Winn-Dixie’s website is inaccessible to individuals who require screen reader software. The court concluded that Winn-Dixie violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) as a...

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Copyrights and 3D Printing

A recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court may expand copyright protection for 3D printing designs. In general, copyrights protect creative works rather than useful or functional objects. In Star Athletica LLC vs. Varsity Brands Inc., the Court examined whether...

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FCC Internet Privacy Rules Repealed

Last fall, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted historic rules to require broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to protect certain sensitive customer information, including web browser history, app usage history and specific geolocation...

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Google Settles AdWords Class Action

In July, 2008, Alphabet, Inc. (Google’s parent company) was sued in federal court by advertisers alleging violation of California fair advertising laws. According to the plaintiffs, Google mislead them regarding their paid AdWords, which the advertisers claimed were...

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Regulating Autonomous Vehicles

Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Gary Peters (D-MI) recently announced that they are exploring federal regulations to be proposed this year for self-driving vehicles. These lawmakers’ stated goal was to offer flexibility for manufacturers of autonomous vehicles without...

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A Contest to Fix IoT Risk

The ever-increasing number of smart or connected devices is also referred to as the “Internet of Things” or “IoT”.  Many smart devices are installed in homes, such as thermostats, home security systems and appliances. A smart device may pose security risks in initial...

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An Update on Data Breach Costs

Kaspersky Labs has issued its annual report on “Measuring the Financial Impact of IT Security on Businesses” after surveying more than 4000 business representatives from 25 different countries. Some key findings of the report: The cost of a single security incident...

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Final E-Warranty Act Rules Issued

The federal E-Warranty Act of 2015 was enacted to allow manufacturers to display consumer product warranties online. On September 8, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission issued its final rules and amendments on the act. One of the ways that manufacturers can provide...

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Combating Online Hate Speech

How long should a social media platform allow illegal hate speech to remain on its site before removing it? Unfortunately, social media has become a tool for terrorist groups and others to spread “the public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of...

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A new law takes effect June 27, 2016 to allow fiduciaries in Michigan to access a decedent’s or incapacitated person’s digital assets. The “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act” is one of a handful of such state laws throughout the country. At first glance, the law...

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Protecting Biometric Data

The ever-growing collection of Big Data includes fingerprints, voiceprints, iris scans, handprints and other biometric data. Three states, including Illinois, have enacted laws to protect its citizens’ biometric data. Lawsuits alleging violation of the Illinois law...

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Drones and the Law

The use of small, unmanned aircraft, or drones, by businesses and individuals is ever-increasing. As of December 21, 2015, all drones are required to be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Operators of unregistered drones could face criminal and...

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Regulating Crowdfunding

The practice of crowdfunding involves raising small amounts from a large number of people, generally via the Internet. This type of fundraising, whether by businesses or individuals, has been largely unregulated, but that will soon change. Security and Exchange...

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Hashtags and Trademarks

Organically created by Twitter users to categorize messages, hashtags have become popular to mark keywords or topics for easy searchability on social media and beyond. Last year, half the Superbowl ads featured hashtags, While many companies use their trademarks and...

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When Industry Groups Get Hacked

On an all too frequent basis, we hear about another organization that has experienced a data breach. Target, Sony, Anthem and T-Mobile are just a handful of recent examples. Last week, the American Bankers Association (ABA), announced that it is participating in the...

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New State Privacy Laws

In August, Maine and Delaware became the 22nd and 23rd states, respectively, to enact laws that prohibit employers from requiring employees and applicants to disclose or provide access to personal social media accounts. In addition to The Employee/Applicant Protection...

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Protecting Proprietary Systems

Businesses whose livelihood depends on proprietary technology must be vigilant in protecting that technology. Those who use others’ proprietary systems should strive to respect attendant use restrictions. Earlier this month, Office Future Systems Inc. (OFS) filed a...

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Uses of Image Search Technology

Shazura, a Spanish-based company, has developed technology that converts images, including videos and photos, into numbers to retrieve matches through its ever-increasing database. One of the potential applications of this technology is to fuel a search engine for...

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Implications of “Always On” Technology

What do Samsung’s SmartTV, the Xbox One and Google’s Chromium browser have in common? According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), each are among the increasing number of “always on” devices that may be recording conversations of individuals without...

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Mandating Enhanced Payment Security

Last fall, President Obama signed an Executive Order calling for federal agencies to begin implementing “chip and PIN” technology for government payment transactions. The implementation must be completed by April 2016. In the meantime, Virginia has become the first...

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