Archives: US Federal Law

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IOT Devices: Just Hardware or FCC Powder Keg?

Written by Eric W. DeSilva and Michael A. Lewis With the meteoric proliferation of “Internet of Things” (IOT) devices, there are an increasing number of innovators and inventors bringing “smart” products to market that capitalize on connectivity in ways never before imagined. While a great deal of resources are typically applied to research and development, … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Broadband Privacy Rules

Written by Sydney White Today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved new privacy rules for mobile and fixed broadband ISPs by a vote of 3-2. The rules seek to harmonize the requirements for ISPs with current FCC CPNI rules that restrict usage of customer data by telecommunications carriers. The rules are broader than FTC privacy standards. In … Continue Reading

When a Sale is not a Sale

Written by Mark Lehberg An inventor is precluded from obtaining a patent on an invention if that invention was sold (e.g., embodied in a product that is sold) more than one year prior to the filing date of the patent application claiming the invention. This is the so-called “on-sale bar.”  The sale of the invention constitutes … Continue Reading

Final Privacy Shield: How it Changed and What It Means for Businesses

On August 1st, the U.S. Department of Commerce will begin accepting applications for Privacy Shield certifications. For US organizations collecting employee and customer data from the EU, the past year has been an anxious one, as the European Court of Justice invalidated the EU-US Safe Harbor program in October 2015 and the terms of a … Continue Reading

FTC Mobile Health Apps Announcement Reinforces Likely Increased Scrutiny of Mobile Health Apps

Written by Peter McLaughlin and Michelle Anderson The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced its creation of a Mobile Health Apps Interactive Tool, a web-based tool designed to help developers of mobile health (mHealth) applications understand which federal laws and regulations they should consider in developing their apps[1]. While the tool is helpful as … Continue Reading

NTIA Seeks Comment on IoT Issues

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) has sought comment on a broad range of issues related to the advancement and regulation of the Internet of Things (“IoT”), including technological challenges/benefits of IoT, definitional issues, privacy, and cybersecurity related issues, among others. NTIA will use the information to produce a “green paper” in which it intends … Continue Reading


On February 29, 2016, the Department of Commerce and European Commission released the details of the new US-EU Privacy Shield program, intended to replace the now defunct US-EU Safe Harbor program. According to the materials released, the new program includes an expanded set of privacy principles, increased operational vetting to be conducted by the Commerce … Continue Reading

FDIC: “A Framework for Cybersecurity”

Written By Michael Schearer On February 1st, the Division of Risk Management Supervision of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) published its Winter 2015 issue of Supervisory Insights. The lead article, entitled “A Framework for Cybersecurity,” discusses the cyber threat landscape and how banks and financial institutions can address cybersecurity threats to their infrastructure. While … Continue Reading

House Judiciary Committee Copyright Law Review

Written by Sydney White The House Judiciary Committee is continuing its ongoing review of copyright issues that began in 2013. The Committee has held over 20 hearings on issues such as secondary liability, Notice and Take Down, and royalties. Most recently, the Committee kicked-off a “listening tour” with a roundtable discussion in Nashville, Tennessee on … Continue Reading

Unresolved Issues In TCPA Litigation: Direct And Vicarious Liability

Written by Elliot Katz and Monica D. Scott  The Federal Communications Commission this summer released its much anticipated omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Although the Ruling covers the agency’s position on many important TCPA issues, such as the definition of an autodialer and the treatment of reassigned cellular telephone … Continue Reading

Update: Cybersecurity Information Sharing Legislation

Written by Sydney White Senate consideration of cybersecurity information sharing legislation, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), S. 754, has again been delayed this time until the Senate returns from August recess.  The delay is attributable to the lengthy debate required on the highway bill rather than opposition to the bill from within the Senate. … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit: victims of data breaches have Article III standing to litigate class action lawsuits

By Amanda Fitzsimmons, Jim Halpert and Chelsea Mutual To date, an overwhelming majority of courts have dismissed data breach consumer class actions at the outset due to a lack of cognizable injury-in-fact, an essential element for standing under Article III of the US Constitution. In Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Group, a decision issued Monday, a … Continue Reading

Spokeo v. Robins: The Case That Has Silicon Valley Buzzing, Even Though Plaintiffs Likely Don’t Have a Leg To “Stand” On

Written by Elliot Katz and Monica Scott On April 27, 2015, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in Spokeo v. Robins and will soon decide whether a plaintiff must allege more than just the bare violation of a federal statute in order to invoke Article III jurisdiction. Some of Silicon Valley’s top companies have … Continue Reading

New US sanctions program to combat cybercrimes – 3 action steps for tech companies

Written by Tara Swaminatha and Sydney White, et al. The new sanctions in President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13694 of April 1, 2015, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” target individuals and organizations overseas who engage in cyberattacks or commercial espionage outside the US that are likely to result in a … Continue Reading

FTC Announces Office of Technology Research and Investigation

This week the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection announced a new office to bolster the technological expertise of the Bureau and the FTC regional offices handling law enforcement investigations.  The Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI) replaces the Mobile Technology Unit (MTU) and will take on new technology in addition to mobile technology.  The … Continue Reading

FTC Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Dutch Authority on Privacy Enforcement Cooperation

On March 9, 2015, the Federal  Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it executed a Memorandum of Understanding on privacy enforcement cooperation with the Dutch Data Protection Authority. In executing the MOU, the FTC noted that it increasingly seeks the assistance of international privacy authorities in its efforts to protect consumer privacy. In the MOU, the parties … Continue Reading

President Obama Unveils Plans About Cybersecurity

Written by Sydney White President Obama made a series of announcements on cybersecurity, data security, and privacy that will be incorporated into his State of the Union address tonight.  In conjunction with the announcements, the White House released legislative proposals on cybersecurity information sharing and data breach notification. On cybersecurity information sharing, the proposal … Continue Reading

FCC Forges New Ground on Enforcement of Data Security Duties under Communications Act

Written by Sydney White On October 24, 2014, in its first data security enforcement action outside of the CPNI context, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture of $10,000,000 against two telecommunications providers TerraCom, Inc. and YourTel America, Inc. (the “Companies”) providing telecom services to low-income … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Federal District Court Decision in Microsoft Case re Warrants for Content Stored Outside US

UPDATE: Written by Sydney White On August 29, the district court judge lifted the stay after finding that the decision was not appealable.  Microsoft continues to refuse to turn over the emails and it seems likely that the judge will find Microsoft in contempt.  A contempt order would be appealable as a final order and … Continue Reading

Written by Andrew L. Deutsch, Marc E. Miller and Melissa A. Reinckens FOLLOWING LOSS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT, AEREO “ASTONISHES” BROADCASTERS WITH NEW LEGAL STRATEGY Shortly after its highly publicized loss before the US Supreme Court, which appeared to doom its over-the-air television Internet streaming business, New York-based Aereo shifted to a new legal strategy which it hopes … Continue Reading

FTC Publishes revised COPPA FAQs, clarifies parental consent methods

The FTC has issued three new FAQs clarifying the “verifiable parental consent” requirements under the COPPA Rule. In one of the revised FAQs, the FTC reiterates that the COPPA Rule’s list of parental consent methods is not exhaustive and that operators are free to use other “reasonably calculated methods” to obtain consent.  According the revised … Continue Reading

White House Issues “Big Data” Report

Today the White House released the much anticipated report on Big Data titled “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values.”  The report focuses on not only privacy and the private sector uses of big data, but also on government uses including by law enforcement.  The report endorses reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, advancing the Consumer … Continue Reading