• Posts by Brian G. Cesaratto
    Member of the Firm

    Attorney Brian Cesaratto focuses his practice on cybersecurity and data privacy, electronic data misappropriation, breach and forensics, technology and software licensing agreements, artificial intelligence, internal and ...

Blogs
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On January 16, 2024, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law Senate Bill No. 332, “An Act concerning online services, consumers, and personal data” (“SB 332”).  New Jersey is the fourteenth state to pass a comprehensive consumer privacy bill, and the obligations and rights created by SB 332 follow the format used in a growing number of states that have passed comprehensive consumer privacy laws.

Scope and Exemptions

SB 332 imposes obligations on “controllers”  – entities or individuals that determine the purpose and means of processing personal data – that ...

Blogs
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New York Governor, Kathy Hochul, recently announced proposed cybersecurity rules for New York hospitals, which are due to be imminently published in the State Register on December 6, 2023, subject to approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council.  The Governor’s press release indicates the proposed regulations, if enacted, will require New York hospitals to meet at least the following requirements: 

  • Establish a cybersecurity program and take proven steps to assess internal and external cybersecurity risks;
  • Develop a response plan for potential cybersecurity ...
Blogs
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On July 26, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted its long-anticipated cybersecurity reporting rule (the “Final Rule”). The Final Rule applies to public companies subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and, in some cases, to foreign private issuers. As quoted in the SEC’s press release, SEC Commissioner Gary Gensler noted that many public companies already make cybersecurity disclosures to investors, and the Final Rule provides uniformity and structure for these future disclosures. The Final Rule also imposes a tight timeline for cybersecurity incident reporting and may include disclosure of an ongoing cybersecurity incident, as well as requiring periodic disclosures concerning organizational cybersecurity risk management processes and governance.

Blogs
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On July 13, 2023, the White House issued the first iteration of its National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan (the “Implementation Plan”), which will be updated annually. The two overarching goals of the Implementation Plan are to address the need for more capable actors in cyberspace to bear more of the responsibility for cybersecurity and to increase incentives to make investments in long-term resilience. The Implementation Plan is structured around the five pillars laid out in the White House’s National Cybersecurity Strategy earlier this year, namely: (1) defend critical infrastructure; (2) disrupt and dismantle threat actors; (3) shape market forces to drive security and resilience; (4) invest in a resilient future; and (5) forge international partnerships to pursue shared goals. The Implementation Plan identifies strategic objectives and high-impact cybersecurity initiatives under each pillar and designates the federal agency responsible for leading the initiative to meet each objective. The following summarizes some of the key initiatives included in the Implementation Plan that will directly impact critical infrastructure organizations, including healthcare, energy, manufacturing, information technology and financial services.

Blogs
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The California Privacy Protection Agency Board (the “Board”) held a public meeting on February 3, 2023, adopting and approving the current set of draft rules (the “Draft Rules”), which implement and clarify the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) as amended by the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (“CPRA”). The Draft Rules cover many CCPA requirements, including restrictions on the collection and use of personal information, transparency obligations, consumer rights and responding to consumer requests, and service provider contract requirements. At the meeting, the Board also addressed additional proposed rulemaking processes concerning cybersecurity audits, risk assessments, and automated decision-making. 

Blogs
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On February 1, 2023, the FTC announced a proposed $1.5 million settlement with GoodRx Holdings, based on alleged violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTC Act”) and Health Breach Notification Rule (“HBNR”) for using advertising technologies on its websites and mobile app that resulted in the unauthorized disclosure of consumers’ personal and health information to advertisers and other third parties. On the same day, the U.S. Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the FTC, filed a Complaint and Proposed Stipulated Order detailing the FTC’s allegations and the terms of the proposed settlement. 

Blogs
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On December 1, 2022, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a bulletin warning that commonly used website technologies, including cookies, pixels, and session replay, may result in the impermissible disclosure of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) to third parties in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). The bulletin advises that “[r]egulated entities are not permitted to use tracking technologies in a manner that would result in impermissible disclosures of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) to tracking technology vendors or any other violations of the HIPAA Rules.” The bulletin is issued amidst a wider national and international privacy landscape that is increasingly focused on regulating the collection and use of personal information through web-based technologies and software that may not be readily apparent to the user.

Blogs
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The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) gives consumers increasingly more control over their personal information when collected by businesses subject to the law. We have previously discussed the compliance requirements of these data privacy laws on organizations doing business in California.[1] Significantly, CCPA/CPRA defines the term “consumer” to mean any California resident; which from a business perspective, such a broad definition encompasses not only the business’s individual customers, but also its employees, job-applicants or even business-to-business (B2B) contacts.  With the moratoriums currently in place for B2B and employee/applicant data sunsetting on January 1, 2023 and not likely to be extended, and the prospect for federal data privacy legislation with wide preemptive effect of state law looking less likely, businesses should be actively preparing to meet these expanded statutory obligations.

Blogs
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On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed into law the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act containing the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (the “Cyber Incident Reporting Act”). While President Biden’s remarks highlighted the $13.6 billion in funding “to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact on surrounding countries,” the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act contained numerous other laws, including the Cyber Incident Reporting Act, which should not be overlooked. The Cyber Incident Reporting Act puts in motion important new cybersecurity reporting requirements that will likely apply to businesses in almost every major sector of the economy, including health care, financial services, energy, transportation and commercial facilities. Critical infrastructure entities should monitor the upcoming rule-making by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”), as the final regulations will clarify the scope and application of the new law.

Blogs
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The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) has urged a “Shields Up” defense in depth approach, as Russian use of wiper malware in the Ukrainian war escalates. The Russian malware “HermeticWiper” and “Whispergate” are destructive attacks that corrupt the infected computers’ master boot record rendering the device inoperable. The wipers effectuate a denial of service attack designed to render the device’s data permanently unavailable or destroyed. Although the malware to date appears to be manually targeted at selected Ukrainian systems, the risks now escalate of a spillover effect to Europe and the United States particularly as to: (i) targeted cyber attacks including on critical infrastructure and financial organizations; and (ii) use of a rapidly spreading indiscriminate wiper like the devastating “NotPetya” that quickly moves across trusted networks. Indeed, Talos researchers have found functional similarities between the current malware and “NotPetya” which was attributed to the Russian military to target Ukranian organizations in 2017, but then quickly spread around the world reportedly resulting in over $10 billion dollars in damage.[1] The researchers added that the current wiper has included even further components designed to inflict damage.

Blogs
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Recent decisions from the European Union (EU) have placed renewed focus on the use of common cookies used on ecommerce and other websites used by consumers and employees and transfers of personal data collected through cookies to the United States. The EU Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) found that the use of widely used website technologies (i.e., cookies and java script) to automatically collect identifiers from the users’ devices or through their use of internet protocols (e.g., IP addresses) resulted in the collection of personal data. The DPAs further found that the subsequent transfer of this data to Google servers located in the United States violated EU cross-border data transfer requirements because there were inadequate safeguards under the Schrems II decision invalidating the EU-US Privacy Shield. One notable impact of the decisions is to dismiss the adequacy of encryption technologies where the service provider (such as Google) has access to the cryptographic key and can be compelled to surrender it in order for the data to be decrypted and read by U.S. surveillance authorities. Consideration of the impact of these decisions is critically important for ecommerce and other websites operating in the EU, as well as more generally for organizations that transfer personal data of consumers and employees to the U.S.

Blogs
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The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently issued guidance clarifying protections applicable to consumers’ sensitive personal data increasingly collected by so-called “health apps.” The FTC press release indicated it has approved a policy statement by a vote of 3-2 offering guidance that organizations using “health applications and connected devices” to “collect or use” consumers’ personal health information must comply with the cybersecurity, privacy and notification mandates of the Health Breach Notification Rule (the “Rule”).

The ...

Blogs
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On January 5, 2020, HR 7898, became law amending the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), 42 U.S.C. 17931, to require that “recognized cybersecurity practices” be considered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in determining any Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) fines, audit results or mitigation remedies. The new law provides a strong incentive to covered entities and business associates to adopt “recognized cybersecurity practices” and risk reduction frameworks when complying ...

Blogs
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The importance of the Domain Name System (DNS) to your organization’s cybersecurity cannot be understated. Communications between computers on the Internet depend on DNS to get to their intended destination. Network communications begin with a query to DNS to resolve the human readable domain name to a numeric Internet Protocol (IP) address required by computers to route the transmission. A malicious party who is able to exploit a weakness in DNS can re-route sensitive traffic, including Protected Health Information (PHI), Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and ...

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