DOJ Settlement with Netcracker Technology Corporation Highlights Cybersecurity and Export Control Best Practices for Government Contractors and Information Technology Companies

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This week the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Netcracker Technology Corporation (NTC) announced that they had settled charges that NTC had violated U.S. controls on foreign access to sensitive data. The settlement underscores many of the export control and related compliance risks surrounding the provision and use of cloud computing services and global networks. At the same time, the Enhanced Security Plan issued by NTC and DOJ as part of the settlement provides a helpful set of benchmarks and best practices for companies that may be considering the use of cloud services and network infrastructure to house and transmit their most sensitive data.

According to DOJ’s settlement announcement, NTC had worked as a subcontractor on two federal government contracts with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), a combat support agency of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and performed some product support work from locations outside the United States, including Russia. DOJ alleged that by failing to maintain adequate controls on the cloud and network infrastructure supporting these contracts, NTC had threatened the security of sensitive data about individuals, DoD projects, networks and critical U.S. domestic communications infrastructure. DOJ further asserted that uncleared NTC foreign national employees in Russia and Ukraine worked on the DISA projects and were aware of the sensitive nature of the projects and the data stored and transmitted through the network managed by DISA.

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GAO Report on Connected Vehicles Calls for NHTSA to Define and Document its Role in Vehicle Data Privacy

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It’s not news that various branches of the federal government have been studying a range of privacy and consumer safety issues that arise with ever more connected vehicles.  What is new is the Government Accounting Office (GAO)’s report to the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology, Committee on Science, Space and Technology about how current passenger vehicle manufacturers address the many privacy issues that arise with connected vehicle use.

GAO interviewed industry associations and organizations that work on privacy issues and also interviewed 16 automakers that were selected based on their U.S. passenger vehicle sales.  GAO reviewed the written privacy policies of the automakers against a set of leading privacy practices and issued a report, Vehicle Data Privacy:  Industry and Federal Efforts Under Way but NHTSA Needs to Define its Role, on August 28, 2017.

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Pending IoT Legislation Would Impose Significant Obligations on Manufacturers

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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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