Conversations about the privacy and security of health information systems and patient data are ongoing, and frequently front-page news. But what about healthcare’s “internet of things”? More specifically, the web of wearable or implantable medical devices, and the applications that go along with them, which collect and transmit health information? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with approving medical devices for patient use in a clinical setting, such as pacemakers. These devices require FDA approval and cannot be altered after receiving that approval. Additionally, an upgrade to an approved device could result in the need for an entirely new FDA approval, making device’s security essentially obsolete soon after its deployment. The inability to upgrade device security poses a unique cybersecurity risk. And this risk is one that Congress seems poised to take on.
Despite the technology and data collection sectors rapidly growing over the past few decades, laws protecting consumers in these spaces have barely expanded, if at all. The first, and only, comprehensive federal data privacy regulation was passed in 1974, roughly ten years before the first Mac computer was invented. Since then, we’ve seen a few more federal laws put in place to protect consumer data and even some states take actions into their own hands, but we have yet to see another comprehensive law from the federal government. This begs the question, will the federal government finally enact new data privacy laws for the country as a whole to adhere to, or will they continue to let states take the reins forcing companies to comply with multiple laws at once?
Conversation surrounding the hodgepodge of state data privacy legislation in the U.S. has long been a subject of frustration within the U.S. and abroad. 2021 saw a drastic uptick in awareness and a need for meaningful comprehensive consumer privacy laws. With both data privacy and cybersecurity repeatedly making front page news over the last year, and even becoming high priority within the Biden Administration, it has become one of the few issues on which people across the political spectrum can agree. But will 2022 be the year that comprehensive federal privacy legislation becomes a reality? Don’t count on it.
When you think of the most valuable commodity in the world today, you might automatically think of money, however, personal data has now become one of the most valuable forms of currency today. The vast amounts of personal data available have made it increasingly valuable to companies who know how to use it to their advantage. The means of receiving this data are sometimes questionable, and up until recently, often unregulated, leading to companies using unethical methods to get their hands on this valuable data. The US is starting to follow the rest of the world and develop extensive data privacy laws that cover more than just medical information to ensure that consumers are protected, but there’s still lots of disagreements surrounding how and what should be protected in the US.
William Hanning is a Chief Information Security Officer with Groups360 and close to twenty years of Information Security experience. Mr. Hanning has built and managed security programs in multiple industries in organizations of varying sizes, as well as within Fortune 100 companies. Here, he gives insight about the separation between data privacy and cybersecurity, the role of information security teams, and how cybersecurity relates to and supports the work of legal and compliance departments.
Remote work was something once looked at as a gift, a day to work at home in your sweatpants on your couch. But now, some are stuck working from home until further notice or maybe even until they retire. This new method of work has made it much harder for businesses to keep the information of their workers and customers safe despite additional avenues of technology being used to work from home. An average employee may never think about the challenges associated with data security, but it is important to shed some light on this subject so that more people understand its importance. It is also important to understand why the lack of data security laws in the US could be so detrimental to any company doing work here. Company and consumer information is more vulnerable than ever with people working from home all over the country and without comprehensive data security regulations in the US, there is no end in sight.
While the United States does have some federal data privacy regulations in place, the most comprehensive regulations exist at the state level with a degree of variation of protection from state to state. Recently, more conversations are being had about whether the United States should implement more federal data privacy laws. Proponents say they would likely use something equivalent to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which focuses on regulating consumer data privacy and protecting consumers from data breaches. This is especially significant because states are taking matters into their own hands by passing state data privacy regulations that all vary slightly, which could become confusing for companies trying to be compliant with more than one.
Since the start of 2021, cyber-attacks have dominated headlines across every industry. From governments and government organizations, healthcare companies, and banks, to gaming companies and oil pipelines, ransomware has impacted organizations of all types and sizes. The scale and scope of these attacks have continued to grow and have far reaching consequences. Despite current agency attempts to strengthen cybersecurity through regulation, individual users continue to pose a serious threat due to insufficient security education.
There’s no doubt that remote work, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, will accelerate the digital revolution already underway. Consumers’ growing appetite to conduct their business online, rather than in-person, has fueled the proliferation of digitally accessible products and services. For instance, movie theaters have closed their doors while content streaming services have experienced exponential growth. And while the restaurant industry, as a whole, has suffered, ‘virtual’ kitchens and grocery delivery apps have picked up steam. A critical question that arises from these trends is “what can be done to eliminate biases in the algorithms that drive these digital transactions?”
In 1993, and on the heels of the landmark Article III standing case of Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, John G. Roberts, Jr. wrote a law review article entitled: “Article III Limits on Statutory Standing.” Twenty-eight years later and now the Chief Justice, Roberts again found himself wrestling over the bounds of the Article III Standing requirement as he presided over this issue in the class action context. Years after the Court decided Spokeo v. Robins in 2016 and Clapper v. Amnesty International in 2013, the Court revisited the matter and listened to oral arguments on March 30, 2021, in TransUnion v. Ramirez. The decision may have enormous consequences. While Acting U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar filed a “friend of the court” brief agreeing that standing exists, other briefs supporting TransUnion suggest that meritless class action lawsuits against corporate defendants from class members that aren’t injured will exponentially increase.