In addition to ongoing privacy and security related issues, one of the hot spots for litigation has been the accessibility of websites. In this post, we will lay out the current legal landscape and what the ADA requires. We will also provide practical next steps to help your company not only manage its compliance requirements, but also leverage your website to produce a more inclusive customer experience.

Continue Reading ADA Website Accessibility and Liability: Why Businesses Need to Develop a Strategy… Now.

On Nov. 4, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced that it is suspending the current iteration of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program (CMMC) in order to streamline the size and scope of required administrative, technical, and physical controls for businesses contracting with DoD. Originally, CMMC was designed to take full effect in 2025 by requiring every defense contractor responsible for processing controlled unclassified information (CUI) to obtain certification from an approved third-party auditor indicating satisfaction of one of five levels of certification. Implementation of CMMC is now halted until DoD has completed a revision to the program intended to strategically meet the needs and capabilities of industries conducting business with the government. As the Office of Under Secretary of Defense described it, the goal is to make cybersecurity requirements “streamlined, flexible, and secure.”

In its place, DoD intends to promote CMMC 2.0, which will reduce the certification model from five levels to three. CMMC 2.0 will remove additional controls added under the initial program and rely primarily on those set forth in NIST 800-171. All contractors required to meet Level 1 (foundational, with 10 required cybersecurity practices and annual self-assessments) will be able to self-attest satisfaction of associated requirements. Level 2 (advanced, with 110 required practices aligned with NIST 800-171) will take a bi-furcated approach to certification with some priority contractors needing to participate in the audit process, while a subset of non-priority contractors will be able to self-attest satisfaction. In the coming weeks, DoD will announce the approach for Level 3 (expert, with at least 110 required practices aligned with NIST 800-171), which will likely be subject to the audit process as well as heightened requirements. Continue Reading See ya, CMMC. Hello, CMMC 2.0: DOD Announces Suspension of Current Information Security Certification Program

It is the end of an era: September 27, 2021, officially marks the termination date for the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) grace period set forth by the European Commission (“Commission”). In June 2021, the Commission published two new sets of clauses (2021 SCCs), marking the first update to the SCCs in over a decade. Unlike prior iterations, which were created before the enactment of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the 2021 SCCs reflect the GDPR’s data protection requirements for multiple variations of data exporter-importer relationships.

Continue Reading Out with the Old and In with The New: European Commission’s New Standard Contractual Clauses Grace Period is Ending

As we anticipated in 2018, “So Goes California, So Goes the Country,” when it comes to U.S. privacy law. California broke new ground when it passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), now, the rest of the nation is following suit. Since 2018, Virginia (the VCDPA) and Colorado (the CPA) have passed similar statues. Now, Ohio is ready to join the party.

Introduced earlier this month, House Bill 376 “The Ohio Personal Privacy Act,” seeks to bring similar protections to Ohio consumers by giving them control over their personal data. The draft legislation does not have an effective date, but we expect that in the next few years, businesses subject to proposed law will need to meet its specifications. For now, businesses should start to consider the bill’s requirements and how they may implement the necessary processes to be compliant with its requirements.

Continue Reading Welcome to the Privacy Party, Ohio: State Legislature Proposes Comprehensive Data Privacy Legislation

In our blog post discussing Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act (“VCDPA”), we anticipated that more states would adopt their own omnibus data privacy laws – and Colorado is the latest  state to do so. Last week, the governor of Colorado signed into law the Colorado Privacy Act (“CPA”), becoming the third state in the U.S. to enact a comprehensive data privacy law. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2023.

The CPA mirrors its California and Virginia counterparts in many ways. The law provides Colorado residents similar rights and protections when it comes to their personal data. These rights include:

  • Right to opt out
  • Right of access
  • Right to correction
  • Right to deletion
  • Right to data portability

That said, the CPA also features a few prominent distinctions that businesses should have on their data governance radar. The following is a brief summary of what businesses should consider. Continue Reading Rocky Mountain High: Colorado Becomes Third State to Establish its own Data Privacy Law

With the recent shift to a remote or hybrid workplace and advancements in technology, there are increased privacy concerns for employee information as well as employer liability for data breaches. There are important legal concerns for employers to understand about employee privacy issues. In addition, companies must have a plan to safeguard company and employee data and minimize the risk of a data breach.

Join Taft Law on July 28 at 12:00 pm ET for a discussion of the practical and legal implications of employee privacy and data security, including:

  • Establishing clear guidelines, expectations, and training for your employees regarding data security and privacy.
  • Policies and best practices for remote work.
  • Employee rights over their personal data.
  • BIPA compliance: policies, practices, disclosures, and releases.
  • Incident response plans and how to better manage the risk of data breaches.

Presented by Taft lawyers: Carolyn Davis, Scot Ganow, and Daniel Saeedi.

One hour of SHRM professional development credit and CLE credit for Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Ohio pending.

Register here.

Over the 4th of July holiday weekend, an affiliate of the Russia-linked criminal syndicate known as REvil succeeded in executing the single largest global ransomware attack on record with over one million firms affected worldwide. As a result of the intrusion, thousands of companies have reduced or entirely ceased operation. For example:

Continue Reading It May Take a Village: What the REvil Holiday Attack Teaches Us About the Evolving Threat

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved an important issue under the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which has been used by companies as they battle hackers, rogue employees, and terminated employees. The CFAA imposes criminal and civil liability when a person accesses a computer “without authorization or exceeds authorized access.” Rogue employees who obtain company information without a business need often find themselves facing a suit that seeks, among other things, damages under the CFAA. A company that can invoke a federal statute — especially one that also could create criminal liability — can create significant leverage in litigation.

The Court held that one “exceeds authorized access” when they access a computer with authorization but then obtain information located in particular areas of the computer — such as files, folders, or databases — that are off limits from a security standpoint. In other words, the employee needs to hack into an internal database in order to exceed the access provided by the employer.

Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Narrows the Reach of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

GDPR Image

The European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets out requirements for transferring personal data outside the European Economic Area. These requirements not only restrict the use and transfer of personal data, but also ensure that personal data is adequately protected with enforceable rights and effective judicial remedies. In 2020, the EU invalidated the EU-US Privacy Shield, a framework that many US companies relied on when transferring data. However, large tech companies, including Microsoft, have ensured compliance with the GDPR’s transfer requirements through the use of standard contractual clauses (SCCs). These SCCs are “pre-approved” by the European Commission to ensure that adequate protections and safeguards are in place for data transfers.

On May 6, 2021, Microsoft announced they were expanding its existing commitments to data privacy in the EU through a plan called the EU Data Boundary for the Microsoft Cloud (EU Data Boundary Plan). This pledge grows Microsoft’s data processing and storing capabilities in the EU by removing the need to move customer data outside the EU. Full implementation of this plan is set for the end of next year.

Continue Reading Freezing the Cloud: Microsoft Takes a Hardline on Data Privacy in the EU

I am often asked by clients and my partners alike, “What is the #1 thing companies should be doing to secure their data and systems?” Usually when I get requests to boil down everything involved in my practice area to one topic, I balk. And for good reason. However, this one is easy.

Multi-Factor Authentication or “MFA.” 

Continue Reading Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Please. Do it. Now.