Security, Privacy and Information Governance

Month: December 2017 (page 2 of 3)

Smartwatch News: Privacy Edition


As smartwatches gain in popularity, innovative uses for the wearable technology, along with privacy concerns, continue to pop up. In this roundup, we look at a new app that can help in atrial fibrillation studies and privacy concerns regarding smartwatches for children.

New app identifies irregular heartbeats for medical study

Apple recently launched the Apple Heart Study App, described as a “first-of-its-kind research study using Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor to collect data on irregular heart rhythms and notify users who may be experiencing atrial fibrillation.” Atrial fibrillation is a leading cause of stroke and other heart conditions.

Apple Watch users will be able to enroll in a joint study with Stanford University School of Medicine, which will use the device’s heart rate monitor to check for an irregular heart rate.  If an irregular heart rhythm is identified, the participant will receive a notification on his Apple Watch and iPhone, a free consultation with a study doctor, and an electrocardiogram patch for additional monitoring. This is the first study that Apple itself is sponsoring. Apple will run the study and submit data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval as a regulated software.

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Limits of the VPPA: Ninth Circuit Panel Upholds Dismissal of VPPA Claim in Eichenberger v. ESPN, But Creates Low Bar for Satisfying Article III


A federal circuit court recently rules that there was no actionable violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) when ESPN shared a user’s movie streaming device serial number with a third party.

A three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 9th Circuit unanimously affirmed a district court decision dismissing a claim alleging a violation of the VPPA, holding that the serial number of a Roku movie streaming device is not “personally-identifiable information” under the statute in Eichenberger v. ESPN, Inc., No. 15-35499 (9th Cir.).  In so doing, however, the Ninth Circuit also joined the Third and Eleventh Circuits in holding that, when alleging a violation of the VPPA, allegations of additional consequences stemming from the violation are not necessary to meet Article III’s standing requirement.

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Investigation Continues After Massive Data Breach at Henry Ford Health System


An unknown hacker gained access to 18,470 patients’ personal health information via employee emails at Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System (HFHS).

According to the press release, HFHS first learned of the incident on October 3, 2017, after becoming aware that the email credentials of a group of employees were compromised.  Even though the emails were name and password protected by encryption, they remained vulnerable to such illegal access.  The email accounts contained patient health information, including:

  • Patient name
  • Date of birth
  • Medical record number
  • Provider’s name
  • Date of service
  • Department’s name
  • Location
  • Medical condition
  • Health insurer

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The SEC’s Cyber Specialty Unit Strikes With Its First Case


On December 4, 2017, the SEC Enforcement Division’s new Cyber Unit filed its first enforcement case for a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO). This new specialty unit was established in late September to increase the Enforcement Division’s focus on cyber-related securities law violations. The focus areas of this unit include securities laws violations involving “blockchain” technologies and ICOs.
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Agenda and Panelists Announced for FTC’s Information Injury Workshop in December


The Federal Trade Commission released the agenda and panelists for the Information Injury Workshop which will be held on December 12.

As we covered in a previous DBR on Data post, the goal of the workshop is to explore how to characterize information injuries, how to accurately measure such injuries, and their prevalence.  In addition, panelists will discuss what factors businesses and consumers consider when evaluating the tradeoffs between providing information and potential exposure to injuries.

The panelists come from a variety of fields and disciplines, including information technology, privacy and data security, business, academia, legal and nonprofit fields.

The full agenda and list of panelists is available at this link. The workshop is free and open to the public and will also be available via live webcast through the FTC’s website.

Human Rights Watch Denounces China’s Big Data Policing


An international human rights organization is urging the Chinese government to stop building big data policing technologies that aggregate and analyze citizens’ personal information.  Though governments collecting information about its citizens is not new, China has begun pursuing newer and ambitious technologies, such as big data analytics, facial recognition, and cloud computing, to better and more quickly aggregate, mine, and leverage personal information.
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