Happy Data Privacy Day!

Data Privacy DayWhat are you doing to observe it?

Today is Data Privacy Day! If you have been wondering “what is Data Privacy Day?” then this is your lucky day because not only is today Data Privacy Day, but here is the answer and an explanation for why it really matters to you and your company’s future success.

What is Data Privacy Day?

Data Privacy Day is observed every year on January 28 and is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a nonprofit, public-private partnership dedicated cybersecurity education and awareness. According to the NCSA,

Data Privacy Day is an international effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint.

Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the January 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. Data Privacy Day is now a celebration for everyone, observed annually on January 28.

Data flows freely in today’s online world. Everyone – from home computer users to multinational corporations – needs to be aware of the personal data others have entrusted to them and remain vigilant and proactive about protecting it. Being a good online citizen means practicing conscientious data stewardship. Data Privacy Day is an effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy, control their digital footprint, and make the protection of privacy and data a great priority in their lives.

14 Tips For Keeping Your Company’s Data Secure

In honor of Data Privacy Day, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (iapp) has posted an article with 14 tips you need to consider when evaluating how to keep your company’s data secure:

  1. Know Thy Data. Determine what data you collect and share. Classify it according to its level of criticality and sensitivity. What could be considered PII? Define whether data is “in use,” “in motion” or “at rest.” Know where the data is physically stored.
  2. Terms and Conditions May Apply. Make sure your privacy policy reflects current data practices (see Tip #1). This includes the use of third-party advertisers, analytics, and service providers. Periodically review and confirm these third parties comply with your written policies.
  3. You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone. Conduct annual audits to review whether your data should be retained, aggregated or discarded. Data that’s no longer used needs to be securely decommissioned. Create a data retention policy dictating how long you keep information once it’s fulfilled its original purpose. And, of course, continually ask whether that purpose is still valid and relevant.
  4. Practice or You’ll Breach. Forged e-mail, malvertising, phishing, social engineering exploits and data snooping via unencrypted transmissions are on the rise. From simple controls to sophisticated gears, make sure you’ve implemented leading security “best practices.”
  5. AYO Technology! Data Loss Prevention (DLP) technologies identify vulnerabilities of potential exposures. These work in conjunction with existing security and antivirus tools. From early warnings of irregular data flows to unauthorized employee access, DLP solutions help minimize and remediate threats.
  6. BYOD Is Like a BYOB House Party. The lack of a coherent bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program can put an organization at risk. User devices can easily pass malware and viruses onto company platforms. Develop a formal mobile device management program that includes an inventory of all personal devices used in the workplace, an installation of remote wiping tools and procedures for employee loss notification.
  7. Insist on a List. To mitigate the grave impact on your organization, inventory key systems, access credentials and contacts. This includes bank accounts, registrars, cloud service providers, server hosting providers and payroll providers. Keep this list in a secure yet accessible location.
  8. Forensics – Don’t Do This at Home. The forensics investigation is essential in determining the source and magnitude of a breach. This is best left to the experts as it’s easy to accidentally modify or disrupt the chain of custody.
  9. Where the Logs At? Logs are fundamental components in forensics analysis, helping investigators understand what data was compromised. Types of logs include transaction, server access, firewall and client operating system. Examine all logs in advance to ensure correct configuration and time-zone synchronization. Routinely back them up; keep copies, and make sure they’re protected.
  10. Incident Response Team to the Rescue! Breaches are interdisciplinary events requiring coordinated strategies and responses. The team should represent every functional group within the organization, with an appointed executive who has defined responsibilities and authority. Establish “first responders” available 24/7 (hackers don’t work a 9 to 5 schedule).
  11. Get Friendly With the “Fuzz.” Reach out to law enforcement and regulators prior to an incident. Know who to contact so you won’t have to introduce yourself in the “heat of the battle.” When you have bad news to report, make sure they hear directly from you (a courtesy call goes a long way). Don’t inflame the situation by becoming defensive; focus on what you’re doing to help affected parties.
  12. Rules, Rules, Rules. Become intimately familiar with the international, domestic and local regulations that specifically relate to your organization. The failure to notify the appropriate governmental body can result in further inquiries and fines.
  13. What Did You Say? A well-executed communications plan not only minimizes harm and potential legal consequences, it also mitigates harm to a company’s reputation. Address critical audiences and review applicable laws before notifying. Tailor your message by geographic region and demographics. Knowing what to say is just as important as knowing what NOT to say.
  14. Help Me Help You. Customers want organizations to take responsibility and protect them from the potential consequences of a breach. The DIP should include easy-to-access remedies that offset the harm to affected parties.

Here is a link to the full post: How to Lose Your Data in 10 Days

The 14 tips are a great place to start when thinking about securing your company’s data. As shown by the recent data breaches that have hit Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, and Barnes & Noble, the question is no longer one of if your company will have a data breach, but when.

When Your Company is Breached, Your Preparation Will Be Vital to the Company Surviving the Crisis

A data breach is a crisis situation for any company–especially given the amount of attention data breaches are getting these days. From a very big picture perspective, there are two goals to strive for when a company responds to a data breach: (1) avoid, or at least mitigate, any legal and regulatory trouble; and, (2) more importantly, minimize the impact of the breach on the company’s overall business. (see related data breach discussions) The only way your company can achieve these goals is to be proactive by getting prepared before the inevitable occurs–the breach.

If your company is prepared, it is in a much better position to minimize the loss of data, be better able to respond to the breach, and demonstrate to the legal and regulatory authorities that it acted reasonably in protecting its data, which can be very helpful in minimizing the legal and regulatory repercussions, which is the first step. By being prepared and better able to address the first step, the company is then able to focus more of its efforts on polishing its response to be more palatable for its customers and better addressing their feelings and concerns. In other words, if the company is prepared, it is not panicking and scrambling just to get out a response–any response–but instead can take the time to analyze the situation through its customers’ eyes and provide a much better response that takes their feelings and concerns into consideration. This is the vital step because this is what helps preserve the company’s customer relationships.

The best way to be prepared for this is for your company to have a thorough and custom data breach incident response plan. The data breach incident response plan should be tailored to fit your company in many ways, including the following ways just to name a few:

  • the nature of your company’s culture, both internally and externally
  • the nature of your company’s customers
  • the nature of your company’s products or services
  • the nature of your company’s operations and management structure
  • the type, volume, and sensitivity of the data your company collects and retains
  • the security measures your company has in place
  • the resources your company has to devote to data security issues
  • the security standards of your company’s particular industry

Could you figure these things out on your own, with enough time and effort? Probably so — but would that really be efficient? More importantly, and I can not over-emphasize this point enough: You need an attorney to assist you with many of these things because, when done under the guidance of an attorney and if the proper formalities are observed, much of the process can be protected by the attorney-client privilege, but not if you don’t have an attorney assisting with the process.

Help is Only a Telephone Call Away

I have assisted many companies with data security issues from assessing their cybersecurity and data privacy strengths and vulnerabilities, helping them implement policies and procedures for better securing their data, preparing data breach incident response plans, leading them through responses to a data breach, and litigating disputes that have arisen from data breaches. When it comes to cybersecurity and data privacy, I see the whole playing field. If you have questions about how you can help better prepare your company, please feel free to give me a call (214.472.2135) or email me (shawn.tuma@solidcounsel.com).

Part 3 of Series: Simple Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Practice in One Hour

cordellHere is the third and final post in my 3 part series on Cordell Parvin’s blog: Lawyers: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour: Part 3 | Cordell Parvin Blog.

If you missed them, here are the first two posts:

I also have several other posts where I discuss my coaching experience with Cordell — check them out and give him a call, he doesn’t bite! Here is his website and his blog.

Part 2 of Series: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour

Here is part 2 of my 3 part guest post series on my coach Cordell Parvin’s blog: Lawyers: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour (Part 2) | Cordell Parvin Blog.

Lawyers: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour: Part 1 | Cordell Parvin Blog

Check out my guest blog post on my “coach” Cordell Parvin’s blog:  Lawyers: Simple Ways to Use Social Media Marketing in One Hour: Part 1 | Cordell Parvin Blog.

Do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in social network posts? No, here is why …

Social Media SwirlThere is no reasonable expectation of privacy in information you post on social networking sites, regardless of what privacy setting you use.  

That is the rule that can be taken from Nucci v. Target Corp., a recent opinion from an appellate court in Florida. The court’s rationale is set out below, with citations omitted:

We agree with those cases concluding that, generally, the photographs posted on a social networking site are neither privileged nor protected by any right of privacy, regardless of any privacy settings that the user may have established. Such posted photographs are unlike medical records or communications with one’s attorney, where disclosure is confined to narrow, confidential relationships. Facebook itself does not guarantee privacy. By creating a Facebook account, a user acknowledges that her personal information would be shared with others. “Indeed, that is the very nature and purpose of these social networking sites else they would cease to exist.” 

Because “information that an individual shares through social networking web-sites like Facebook may be copied and disseminated by another,” the expectation that such information is private, in the traditional sense of the word, is not a reasonable one.
As one federal judge has observed,

Even had plaintiff used privacy settings that allowed only her “friends” on Facebook to see postings, she “had no justifiable expectation that h[er] ‘friends’ would keep h[er] profile private. . . . ” In fact, “the wider h[er] circle of ‘friends,’ the more likely [her] posts would be viewed by someone [s]he never expected to see them.” Id. Thus, as the Second Circuit has recognized, legitimate expectations of privacy may be lower in e-mails or other Internet transmissions.

We distinguish this case from Root v. Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC. That case involved a claim filed by a mother on behalf of her three-year-old son who was struck by a vehicle. Unlike this case, where the trial court ordered the production of photographs from the plaintiff’s Facebook account, the court in Balfour ordered the
production of a much broader swath of Facebook material without any temporal limitation—postings, statuses, photos, “likes,” or videos—that relate to the mother’s relationships with all of her children, not just the three year old, and with “other family members, boyfriends, husbands, and/or significant others, both prior to, and following the accident.” The second district determined that “social media evidence is discoverable,” but held that the ordered discovery was “overbroad” and compelled “the production of personal information . . . not relevant to” the mother’s claims. Id. at 868, 870. The court found that this was the type of “carte blanche” irrelevant discovery the Florida Supreme Court has sought to guard against. The discovery ordered in this case is narrower in scope and, as set forth above, is calculated to lead to evidence that is admissible in court.

Thanks to my friend Dale Rodriguez for bringing this case to my attention.

Maybe My Y2K Experience Will Help > Computer chaos feared over 2015’s leap second

Who has two thumbs and spent an awful lot of time becoming an expert on a body of law for an event that never really happened?

Yep, this guy — the event was Y2K!

But, as you can see from the excerpts in the article below, that experience may come in handy after all as the fears and worries sound the same as what we were hearing in 1998 and 1999 …

The year 2015 will have an extra second — which could wreak havoc on the infrastructure powering the Internet.

At 11:59 p.m. on June 30, clocks will count up all the way to 60 seconds. That will allow the Earth’s spin to catch up with atomic time.

The Earth’s spin is gradually slowing down, by about two thousandths of a second per day, but atomic clocks are constant. That means that occasionally years have to be lengthened slightly, to allow the slowing Earth to catch up with the constant clock.

Now, if you’re dying to read my law review article from 1999, here you go: It Ain’t Over ‘Till … A Post-Y2K Analysis of Y2K Litigation & Legislation

If you’d rather read this article, here you go: Computer chaos feared over 2015’s leap second.