Technology & Privacy

With more people working remotely than ever before in light of COVID-19, firms in the private equity and hedge fund space should review their Regulation S-P privacy and information-safeguarding policies to ensure they are compliant and ready for a prolonged period of remote work. In particular, in view of SEC guidance, firms should focus on several key areas including personal devices and personally identifiable information.…
In today’s world, cybersecurity breaches and threats are pervasive concerns for any business entity, without exception. Working from home arrangements due to COVID-19 constraints only magnify the risk and create further vulnerabilities for companies. Companies should be aware of (1) the key cyber threats they face, (2) the consequences of a breach, and (3) the statutory and regulatory framework governing cybersecurity. Cybersecurity breaches are unique in that an entity can both be the victim of the breach and still be found to have a degree of responsibility. Fortunately, there are precautionary measures that companies can implement to help prevent…
In today’s world, cybersecurity breaches and threats are pervasive concerns for any business entity, without exception. Working from home arrangements due to COVID-19 constraints only magnify the risk and create further vulnerabilities for companies. Companies should be aware of (1) the key cyber threats they face, (2) the consequences of a breach, and (3) the statutory and regulatory framework governing cybersecurity. Cybersecurity breaches are unique in that an entity can both be the victim of the breach and still be found to have a degree of responsibility. Fortunately, there are precautionary measures that companies can implement to help prevent…
This past March, many organizations were forced to suddenly pivot to a “work from home” environment (“WFH”) as COVID-19 spread across our country.  However, many companies did not have the necessary technical infrastructure in place to support their full workforce on a WFH basis.  Often, remote access systems were configured assuming only a portion of a company’s employees – not 100% of a company’s employees – would be remotely accessing the corporate networks simultaneously.  In addition, many employees have limited home Wi-Fi capacity that is insufficient to sustain extended, robust connections with the office systems.  Networks can then become…
The leading Italian news agency, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA), which represents 24 major Italian newspapers and distributes over 3,000 news articles daily, announced in early April that it has begun using a blockchain-based solution run on the Ethereum public blockchain to verify the origin of news stories that appear on ANSA platforms or are distributed to other sites, such as social media pages. Stories actually originating from the ANSA platform (without modification) now bear a green digital “ANSAcheck” certificate that informs readers that the preceding story is a verified ANSA news article and is not…
On March 17, 2020, the governor of Hawaii announced the Digital Currency Innovation Lab, a collaborative effort between Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the Division of Financial Institutions (DFI) and Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, to regulate business transactions utilizing cryptocurrencies. The two-year pilot program allows selected companies to conduct business transactions using digital currency that otherwise would require a Hawaii Money Transmitter License under the state’s Money Transmission Act. The announcement of this program came just weeks after SB2594 was proposed in the Hawaiian Senate to allow banks to hold digital assets for their customers. The Application Process…
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered the way we live and conduct business. Most non-essential businesses have closed their offices and established entirely remote workforces, and many individuals may be in quarantine, which means that “wet” signatures on paper can be highly inconvenient. This reality has focused more attention on electronic formats. In this blog post we examine the landscape of electronic signatures in light of the pandemic and what it will mean for signature requirements going forward. Electronic signatures apply to both agreements entered into online, such as when completing an internet transaction or assenting to a contract via
In an innovative initiative in the battle against the Coronavirus, the newly-formed Open COVID Coalition (the “Coalition”) launched the Open COVID Pledge (the “Pledge”), a framework for organizations to contribute intellectual property to the fight against COVID-19. Pursuant to the Pledge, rightsholders can openly license intellectual property to facilitate the development of tools and technologies to counter the COVID pandemic. These would include the manufacturing of medical equipment and testing kits, as well as the development of software, AI and biotech solutions to contain and end the virus. Many major technology companies and other organizations have signed on to the…
Privacy and cybersecurity remain top priorities for regulators and companies alike, as the threats posed by large-scale data breaches and other cyber incidents show no signs of waning. Companies and their counsel must monitor privacy and data security-related enforcement trends, new laws and regulations, and key emerging issues to mitigate risks and minimize potential liability. Read our Practical Law article for an overview of recent privacy and data security legal developments (pre COVID-19).  …
During congressional debates over the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a relatively novel idea was the focus of proposals from the Senate and House of Representatives: “digital dollars.” Several legislative proposals introduced the idea to address the delay between passage of the CARES Act and distribution of direct stimulus payments to taxpayers, one of the pillars of the act. While the concept did not find its way into the final bill, its inclusion in proposals from both the Senate and House indicate that the viability – and specific application – of a central bank digital currency…
Since the introduction of cashless payments, tap pay and Apple/Android Pay the use of cash has been in steady decline. The Covid-19 pandemic now appears to be accelerating its demise. Post pandemic, will cash be a thing of the past as Covid-19 accelerates us to a fully contactless payment future? Cash withdrawals at ATMs appear to have decreased substantially across Europe in comparison to the position last year, in some cases by more than 50 per cent., and certain governments have adopted measures to sterilise banknotes.  On 3 April the Bank for International Settlements released a bulletin, which considers…
In early February 2020, before most of us were truly aware of the implications of COVID-19, a well-respected IT consulting group predicted a $4.3 trillion global spend on information technology in 2020. Drivers of the projected activity included cybersecurity, outdated infrastructure, mobile accessibility needs, cloud and SaaS transitions, and on-premises technology requirements.  In late 2019, another well-respected consulting group had predicted that, in 2020, “[t]here will be increasing opportunities for technology vendors and service providers to grow their businesses, and for technology buyers to innovate and upgrade their infrastructure, software, and services.” In fact, as 2020 began, many…
On April 2, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services released a notification related to the discretion that OCR will exercise concerning HIPAA enforcement during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Effective immediately, OCR will not impose penalties for violations of certain provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule against business associates for “good faith uses and disclosures of PHI by business associates for public health and health oversight activities.” HIPAA already permits covered entities to provide this data. With this new guidance from OCR, now business associates can disclose this data to…
The developing coronavirus pandemic affects businesses and personnel within the state and elsewhere.  With more New Yorkers working from home, there are more opportunities for cyberattacks through unsecure remote connections and the public concern growing each day. The New York SHIELD (“Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security”) Act was signed to law on July 25, 2019.  It is an amendment to New York’s data breach notification law.  The SHIELD Act provides a number of changes that we reported last year, including expanding the definitions of “private information” and “breach.”  The definition of “private information” now covers emails…
With the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), cybersecurity criminals and scammers are ramping up their efforts to target vulnerable employers and workforces. The FTC announced today that since January they have received more than 7,800 fraud complaints from consumers related to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the FTC isn’t slowing down either. Even with the FTC having to change its own procedures due to COVID-19, the FTC has been publishing guidance on COVID-19 scams and also sending out warning letters to sellers of false treatments.…