Security, Privacy and Information Governance

Author: Lee G. Petro (page 1 of 2)

Enforcement Actions Launched by Securities and Exchange Commission – Heightened Scrutiny of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Companies


A recent flurry of activity by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in court, and strong talk on the Hill, gives a clear indication that the U.S. regulatory agency is making a significant push to rein in the current wild-west atmosphere of investments in Blockchain and cryptocurrency companies.

In the wake of the DAO Report issued by the SEC in July 2017, the agency released several Investor Alerts to warn the public of the risks associated with investing in initial coin offerings (ICOs), including an alert to warn investors to be careful about advertisements by celebrities promoting ICOs and other Blockchain-related investments. Moreover, the SEC chairman and his counterpart at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have recently released statements and op-eds and appeared before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee to elevate the awareness of lawmakers and the public of some of these risks.

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Building the Blocks of Knowledge – NIST Releases Draft Blockchain Technology Overview


On January 25, 2018, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) division of the U.S. Department of Commerce released a draft report of Blockchain technology (Overview). Recognizing the growing public awareness of the most well-known application of Blockchain technology – Bitcoin, the Overview draft report provides a high-level discussion of the technical components of Blockchain technology, addressing how data is encrypted, and how the data is verified and then distributed among the participating Blockchain parties. NIST is seeking comments on the scope and completeness of the draft Overview, which are due by February 23, 2018.

The Overview begins with a fairly detailed, yet accessible, overview of the architecture of Blockchain technology, covering both how data that is to be recorded and encrypted in the blocks, and how the individual blocks are then incorporated into the corresponding Blockchain. Discussions of hashing, nonces, forking and Merkle Trees are included, along with helpful charts for those with a preference for visuals.

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Pending IoT Legislation Would Impose Significant Obligations on Manufacturers


With the House and Senate returning to Washington in September, two recently-introduced Senate bills seek to address perceived vulnerabilities in the security of Internet of Things (IoT) devices sold to the federal government and medical devices which regularly connect to the Internet.

Among the key takeaways in the legislation:

  • Legislation covers both products sold to the federal government and medical devices;
  • Legislation addresses “life of device” obligations of IoT device manufacturers;
  • Disclosure and Certification Requirements could create additional liability for manufacturers of Internet of Things devices.

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White House Issues ATC Report and Seeks Comments on IT Implementation Plan


On August 30, the Trump administration unveiled an ambitious plan to upgrade the federal government’s cyberdefenses by shifting digital functions to the cloud and prioritizing security upgrades for the government’s most important systems.  In this plan, which in many ways continues the cyberefforts of the Obama administration, the White House’s American Technology Council (ATC) justified this large-scale approach due to what it characterized as the federal government’s longstanding less-than-adequate cyberefforts in the face of years of mounting digital threats.

The plan, grounded in the President’s May 2017 Executive Order (EO) 13,800,   tasked  the Director of the ATC to coordinate the preparation of a report to the President from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce (Commerce), regarding the modernization of Federal Information Technology (IT).  In accordance with EO 13,800, a draft IT Modernization report was submitted to the President last week.

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Time to Focus on Cybersecurity in Health Care


In the wake of the WannaCry global attack that impacted the U.K.’s National Health Service, the need to protect valuable health care data has never been more urgent. The U.S. government has begun to take steps in the right direction with the passing of executive orders on cybersecurity, the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, and the Government Accountability Office report on the Internet of Things.

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An Early Review of the Trump Administration’s Health Care Cybersecurity Task Force Report


Formed by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, a task force established to share cybersecurity information between federal government and private industry representatives has released its “Report on Improving Cybersecurity in the Health Care Industry.” They presented six major action items for Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, other government agencies and private industry.

The Report organized its recommendations under six Imperatives:

  • Define and streamline leadership, governance, and expectations for health care industry cybersecurity;
  • Increase the security and resilience of medical devices and health IT;
  • Develop the health care workforce capacity necessary to prioritize and ensure cybersecurity awareness and technical capabilities;
  • Increase health care industry readiness through improved cybersecurity awareness and education;
  • Identify mechanisms to protect research and development efforts and intellectual property from attacks or exposure; and
  • Improve information sharing of industry threats, weaknesses, and mitigations.

In a recent alert, we evaluated the action items and draft recommendations prepared by the Task Force, = and discuss how the Trump administration will react to these new proposals.

Read our review of the Health Care Cybersecurity Task Force Report

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