Monthly Archives: January 2016

Congress Acts to Ban Gag Clauses in Consumer Contracts

There is not a lot that all members of the U.S. Senate can agree on these days, but protecting the ability of consumers to write reviews of businesses is apparently an issue on which there is unanimity. First some background. From Yelp, to TripAdvisor, to Angie’s List, no one can deny the impact “ratings” websites have had on businesses (including lawyers). It is often the first – and sometimes the last – place consumers go before making a purchasing decision. For this reason, businesses have a long history of attempting to prevent consumers from posting potentially negative reviews on ratings …

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Privacy vs. Data Security: Why Plaintiffs in Consumer Data Breach Cases Still Have a Long Way to Go

The year 2005 really marked the beginning of the “era of data breaches,” and with it, the “era of data breach lawsuits.” The ChoicePoint data breach in late 2004, which first became newsworthy in early 2005, was the catalyst. That breach involved approximately 163,000 records, which by 2005 standards was a “major” data breach, and ChoicePoint was the first organization to notify the data subjects of the breach under the first (and only) data breach notification law in the country – the California law known back then by privacy experts simply as SB 1386. The media floodgates that opened in …

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CISA Gives Leeway in Network Monitoring, But Not Without Risk

As we wrote last week, The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 – better known to some as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 – was signed into law in December 2015. Privacy advocates had decried CISA in its original form as weakening privacy protections in regard to Internet traffic. When Congress slipped a revised version of CISA into a gigantic omnibus spending bill for the President’s up or down approval, some claimed the revised bill “stripped out even more of its remaining privacy protections.” At the most general level, CISA is intended to make it unequivocally legal for Federal and …

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The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015

Protecting the Public from Cyber Threats or Unwanted Surveillance? On December 18, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the much reported omnibus spending bill, which keeps the government running for another year. The controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (“CISA”) was included as a rider to the omnibus spending bill. CISA seeks to create a voluntary cyber threat information sharing process between industry and the federal government. CISA requires that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) develop a process for the federal government to accept cyber threat information from any entity and ensure that appropriate federal entities (i.e., the FBI …

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