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The Global Privacy Watch

Wearable Device Data: The Next Big Thing for Employment Litigation Cases

Posted in Employee Privacy, Privacy Litigation

shutterstock_384992695Wearable device data may be the next big thing in the world of evidence for employment cases since social media. Given that it has already been used in personal injury and criminal cases, it is only a matter of time before wearable device data is proffered as evidence in an employment case.

From Fitbit to the Nike FuelBand to a slew of others, the worldwide wearable market has exploded in recent years. In a world increasingly obsessed with health and fitness, wearable devices offer instantaneous and up-to-the-minute data on a number of metrics that allow the user to assess his or her own health and fitness. Wearable devices can track information like heart rate, calories, general level of physical activity, steps taken, diet, blood glucose levels and even sleep patterns. Given the nature of the information captured, it is easy to see how wearable device data may be relevant to claims of disability discrimination, workers’ compensation and even harassment. Continue Reading

European Restrictions on Computer Profiling

Posted in EU Privacy Law

shutterstock_291401912On May 25, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect requiring companies that process personally identifiable information of EU residents to comply with a significant number of enhanced data-protection requirements. One of these requirements is an individual’s “right to explanation” of an algorithmic decision made about him or her by a machine.

This right will affect companies that monitor the behavior of European residents for the purposes of data-subject “profiling” that produces legal effects or significantly affects the natural persons whose personal information is being collected and analyzed. This includes “profiling” that consists of any form of automated processing of personal data evaluating the personal aspects relating to a natural person, in particular to analyze or predict aspects concerning the data subject’s performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests, reliability or behavior, location or movements.

Article 13 of the GDPR will require data controllers collecting personal information to inform data subjects of the existence of automated decision-making, including profiling, and, in certain cases, to provide “meaningful information about the logic involved,” as well as significance and consequences of such processing. Article 22 of the GDPR states that data subjects shall have the right not to be subject to a decision based solely on automated processing, including profiling, that produces legal effects.

The GDPR will carry hefty fines that will be based on case-specific multi-factor analysis. Depending on the type of infringement, GDRP violators can be fined up to €10 – €20 million, or up to 2% – 4% of total worldwide annual turnover, whichever is higher.

Pokémon NO: New App Creates Risks For Employers

Posted in Employee Privacy, Security

Cross Posted from Employment Law Lookout

PokemonYour employees may be on a quest to catch ‘em all. Over 15 million people have downloaded the Pokémon GO game since its release two weeks ago. In this augmented reality game, players use their mobile devices to catch Pokémon characters in real-life locations captured by the camera in a user’s cellular phone. Though the game is very popular with Pokémon GO players, employers may not like the game quite so much.

Data And Security Concerns

There are data security concerns that arise from use of the Pokémon GO app.

First, users that want to play Pokémon Go must sign in to the app. There are two ways to do so—through an existing Google account, or through an existing Pokémon Trainer Club Account. Up until very recently, the Pokémon website did not allow users to sign up for Pokémon Trainer Club Accounts due to overwhelming demand. Thus, for most people, the only way to play Pokémon GO was by signing in to the app with their Google accounts. Even though the option to create a Trainer Club Account is now available, doing so requires more time and effort than signing in through an existing Google account. Continue Reading

Phishing: Data Breach Is “Chalkdust Torture”

Posted in Privacy Legislation, Security, US Privacy Law

Cross Posted from California Peculiarities Employment Law Blog

Hernandez v. Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc., a case stemming from a phishing scam, emphasizes the need for California employers to implement comprehensive data protection and data breach notification policies and practices for personal employee information under the CDPA.

A story of a company suffering a data breach tops newspaper headlines almost daily. So how can you stay out of the “fuego,” and stay compliant with California laws about your employees’ and customers’ data?

California’s Data Protection Act—“Army Of One”

In 2003 California passed the nation’s first data breach notification statute: the CDPA. Since then, over 30 states have enacted similar statutes, but California remains the national leader in privacy and data security standards.

The CDPA mandates that any business that “owns or licenses personal information about a California resident shall implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature of the information, to protect the personal information from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.” And it requires a company to notify affected individuals of a data breach “in the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay.” Continue Reading

Europe Is Shifting, And It’s a Big Deal – The New GDPR

Posted in Consumer Privacy, Employee Privacy, EU Privacy Law, International Privacy Law, Privacy Legislation

The clock is now ticking. On May 4th the European Parliament published the final text of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), and the rules of the game have significantly changed – at least in the context of EU data protection law. First, the GDPR changes the underlying approach to data protection law, with a new emphasis placed on accountability and risk-based approaches. “Privacy by Design” and “Privacy by Default” have been included in the regulatory ecosystem. Second, significant changes have been made to the obligations of “controllers” and “processors”. These include specific criteria for having compliant privacy notices and vendor management contracts. Third, enforcement is now a very real, and potentially risky, thing. With the possibility of administrative fines being up to 4% of a business’ global gross revenue, private rights of action by individuals, and non-profit privacy watchdog groups (also known as “Civil Society”) having the right to complain of a company’s privacy practices directly to the local Data Protection Authorities; compliance with the GDPR will now be one of those risks that any business who touches EU data will need to seriously consider. Fortunately, the GDPR won’t go into effect until May 25th 2018. However, businesses with significant data from the EU need to start considering how to comply now. Continue Reading

Monitoring Employee Communications: A Brave New World

Posted in Employee Privacy, US Privacy Law

Cross Posted from Employment Law Lookout

Over the last decade, communication via email and text has become a vital part of how many of us communicate in the workplace. In fact, most employees could not fathom the idea of performing their jobs without the use of email. For convenience, employees often use one device for both personal and work-related communications, whether that device is employee-owned or employer-provided. Some employees even combine their personal and work email accounts into one inbox (which sometimes results in work emails being accidentally sent from a personal account). This blurring of the lines between personal and work-related communications creates novel legal issues when it comes to determining whether an employer has the right to access and review all work-related communications made by its employees. Continue Reading

Is Data Really a “Toxic” Asset?

Posted in Security

In his “Data Is a Toxic Asset” blog post, Bruce Schneier argues that data is a toxic asset and that the lesson all the recent data breaches are teaching us is that storing this asset is “dangerous,” because it makes companies vulnerable to hackers, the government, and employee error. Schneier suggests addressing data breaches through stronger regulation at every stage of the data lifecycle and through personal liability of corporate executives. “Data is a toxic asset,” concludes Schneier, “We need to start thinking about it as such, and treat it as we would any other source of toxicity. To do anything else is to risk our security and privacy.”

Calling data a “toxic asset” sensationalizes the data-security conversation into alarmist territory. The term “toxic asset” has a certain meaning in financial circles and typically refers to assets that become illiquid when they no longer can be sold on a secondary market. This hardly applies to data, which is more of a lifeblood for corporations than toxic asset. Continue Reading

Employee GPS Tracking – Is it Legal?

Posted in Employee Privacy, Privacy Litigation

Over the past several years, technology has dramatically increased employee accountability in the workplace. For example, in an office environment, employees are expected to respond to emails immediately because they are either sitting in front of their computers or carrying a mobile device on which they can access their email. As for employees who work outside the office, the availability of employer-issued phones and, alternatively, the proliferation of “bring your own device” policies, has resulted in off-site employees being generally just a phone call away. In specific industries in which employees drive motor vehicles while conducting business for the employer, yet another method of accountability exists: GPS. Continue Reading

Safe Harbor 2.0 – Is It Happening?

Posted in Consumer Privacy, Employee Privacy, EU Privacy Law, International Privacy Law, Privacy Legislation, US Privacy Law

It is the beginning of 2016, and American companies are anxiously awaiting news of whether or not a new “Safe Harbor 2.0” will emerge. In October of 2015, the European Court of Justice declared invalid Safe Harbor 1.0 in the Schrems decision. This had an immediate effect on any American company collecting personal data from the EU by removing the legal basis for this kind of data transfer. As of October 2015, consumer, client, and even employee data cannot be legally transferred to the US under the Safe Harbor Framework.

Fortunately, the data protection regulators (“DPAs”)recognized the turmoil this decision created within the business community on both sides of the Atlantic. As a result, the Article 29 Working Party (which is the convention of DPAs from each of the EU Member States) issued an enforcement moratorium on enforcement actions until the end of January 2016, so that they could assess the effectiveness of data transfer tools available. As part of this moratorium, the Working Party called on “…Member States and European institutions to open discussions with U.S. authorities in order to find legal and technical solutions”; and that the “current negotiations around a new Safe Harbor could be part of the solution.” Continue Reading

US & China Sign Financial Intelligence Cooperation Memorandum

Posted in International Privacy Law, Security

The U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the China Anti-Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Center (CAMLMAC) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a “framework to facilitate expanded U.S.-China collaboration, communication, and cooperation” between each agency’s financial intelligence units (FIUs). News Release (December 11, 2015).

In announcing the MOU, FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery stated that “this MOU provides an important foundation for a reciprocal exchange of extremely valuable financial information to help thwart terrorism and money laundering in these perilous times…. Building this mutually beneficial bridge of cooperation will serve each country’s vital interests and help protect the citizens of both of our countries from the damage that criminals and terrorist financiers can inflict.”

As an increasing amount of business is conducted between the United States and China, the MOU serves important investigative interests shared by both countries, namely, to allow for the sharing of “extremely valuable information to provide leads, expose criminal networks, and help thwart illicit activity in the vast and interconnected global economy,” as stated by the FinCEN press release.  For China, signing the MOU is also an important action to push forward its domestic anti-corruption campaign, internationally.

Those with questions about any of these issues or topics are encouraged to reach out to the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the White Collar, Internal Investigations, and False Claims Team.