itechlaw_logoSeyfarth Shaw LLP is pleased to be a Global Sponsor at ITechLaw’s 2016 European Conference in Madrid on November 9-11.

ITechLaw is a not-for-profit organization established to inform and educate lawyers about the unique legal issues arising from the evolution, production, marketing, acquisition and use of information and communications technology.

The conference will feature a wide-ranging program and invaluable networking opportunities that will focus on cutting-edge legal topics, including e-commerce, e-contracting, disruptive technologies, data protection developments, and the impact of cognitive technologies in the legal spheres. Attendees at the European Conference include leading attorneys in private practice, in-house counsel, business executives focusing on the global economy, government officials and academics.

This year, Seyfarth Shaw Partner Robert B. Milligan serves on ITechLaw’s Board of Directors. He will also serve as the moderator of the Disruptive Technologies session, which will cover:

  • a practical approach to the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • consumer protection in the age of IoT
  • the impact of robotics, artificial intelligence & disruptive technologies in law

In addition, Seyfarth Shaw is pleased to co-sponsor the conference. Please stop by our table during the conference to learn about our Intellectual Property, Global Privacy & Security and Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes Practice Groups.

For more information, click here.

shutterstock_189182636 (1)As the companies doing business in Europe are trying to get their arms around the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679), but so far not making substantial headway, the European Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) are doing their own GDPR preparation by securing increased budgets and additional workforce.

Last week, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), Helen Dixon, has “welcomed” the additional funding of €2.8 million for her office’s 2017 budget, as announced by the Government, bringing the total funding allocation to the DPC to over €7.5 million. The 2017 budget increases are in line with the increases in 2015 and 2016, representing a 59% increase on the 2016 allocation and over four times the €1.9 million provided to the DPC in 2014.

Commenting on the 2017 funding allocation, Helen Dixon stated:

“The additional funding being provided by Government in 2017 will be critical to our preparations for the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018. In 2017 we will continue to invest heavily in building our capacity and expertise, including the recruitment of specialist staff, to administer our new enforcement powers and all of our additional responsibilities under the new law.

Continue Reading Irish Data Protection Commissioner Welcomes Increases in Budget in Preparation for the GDPR Enforcement

CaptureOn Wednesday, November 2, at 1:00 p.m. Central, Seyfarth attorneys Karla Grossenbacher, Ari Hersher, Stacey Blecher, Meredith-Anne Berger, Elizabeth Levy and Selyn Hon will present “Navigating Employee Privacy Issues in the Workplace.”

The rise of technology in the workplace has resulted in a myriad of complex privacy issues. Employee privacy concerns are impacting employer decision-making more than ever. Is your company equipped to navigate these issues? In this cutting-edge webinar we will discuss:

  • The legal issues presented by an employer’s review of employee texts, emails and social media postings during workplace investigations;
  • The latest decisions from the NLRB regarding an employer’s ability to take action against employees based on social media postings;
  • Privacy considerations presented by the implementation of a BYOD policy; and
  • Private data security risks that arise from the use of cloud-based storage in the workplace

Please join us for this informative webinar so you will be prepared to confront the ever-increasing amount of privacy issues facing employers.

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

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.

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 Pokémon NO: New App Creates Risks For Employers

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 Phishing: Data Breach Is “Chalkdust Torture”

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

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 Monitoring Employee Communications: A Brave New World

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 Is Data Really a “Toxic” Asset?