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Jeff Poston is a partner in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office, where he serves as co-chair of the firm’s Chambers USA-ranked Privacy & Cybersecurity Group and is a member of the Litigation Group. A seasoned trial lawyer with more than 25 years of experience leading investigations and litigation for corporate clients, Jeff counsels and defends clients in complex data protection matters involving class-actions and regulatory enforcement actions, as well as commercial disputes. Jeff also counsels businesses on both domestic and international privacy compliance matters, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) regulates companies that obtain, use, store, sell, and disclose the biometric data of Illinois residents.  Companies that fall under BIPA must provide notice to and receive consent from Illinois residents before obtaining their biometric data, and must take reasonable care that the biometric data remains secure.  In addition, BIPA includes a private right of action, and if a regulated company fails to comply with its provisions, statutory damages can be as high as $5,000 for each violation.  BIPA litigation is active in Illinois State Court and in Federal Courts across the United States.

A sticking point for litigants has been the statute of limitations for a party to bring a BIPA claim.  BIPA does not include its own statute of limitations.  Generally speaking, plaintiffs have argued that a longer limitations period applies, such as the five-year limitations period under section 13-205 of Illinois’ Code of Civil Procedure.  And generally speaking, defendants have argued that a shorter limitations period applies, like the one-year period under section 13-201 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

Continue Reading A Statute of Limitations for BIPA Claims? We May be One Step Closer

Aiming to identify, enhance, and test supply chain vulnerabilities in the energy sector and cybersecurity response capabilities between public and private sectors, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources approved legislation that directs the Department of Energy (DoE) to create several new programs towards the development of “advanced cybersecurity applications and technologies” for the sector.[1]  The Energy Cybersecurity Act of 2019 (the Act) directs DoE to establish programs that identify supply chain vulnerabilities and expand Federal cooperation and coordination for responses to cyber threats.

If passed, the Act will require the DoE to:

Continue Reading Energy Cybersecurity Act of 2019

On August 8, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued yet another decision adopting relaxed standing requirements in privacy litigation, this time in a decision permitting a plaintiff to pursue claims under Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). In Patel v. Facebook, the Ninth Circuit rejected arguments from Facebook Inc. (Facebook) that claims under the BIPA require assertions of real-world harm, and that BIPA claims only apply to conduct within Illinois. The ruling creates a circuit split on the standard for establishing Article III standing in BIPA litigation, which could prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue.

Background

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rejects Facebook’s Article III Argument; Biometric Lawsuit Will Proceed

The federal government has kept busy this summer by issuing multiple regulations impacting government contractors’ cybersecurity.  First, the Department of Defense released the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included notable cybersecurity provisions involving foreign ownership and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), among others.  Second, Congress passed the NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Act requiring the

Facebook faces government investigations on both sides of the Atlantic after recent revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a British political data firm with ties to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, collected and used the personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users in a manner that violates Facebook’s stated policy regarding access, disclosure, and use of personal information. Legislators in the U.S. and the UK have called for hearings.

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has confirmed it is conducting an investigation into whether Facebook violated the terms of its November 2011 consent decree requiring it to, among other things, “not misrepresent . . . the extent to which it maintains the privacy or security of [personal] information,” and “establish and implement, and thereafter maintain, a comprehensive privacy program that is reasonably designed to (1) address privacy risks related to the development and management of new and existing products and services for consumers, and (2) protect the privacy and confidentiality of [personal] information.” Several state attorneys general have also announced investigations, and Facebook faces at least one a shareholder lawsuit alleging that Facebook did not properly disclose the third-party access to users’ personal information.
Continue Reading Political Data Firm Improperly Accessed Facebook Users’ Data

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit revived a class action lawsuit related to a 2012 data breach, determining that the future risk of identity theft suffices to establish Article III standing, even where there has been no actual harm. At issue in the case, In re Zappos.com, was whether

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has now weighed in on whether plaintiffs can bring a putative class action arising from an alleged data breach in lieu of allegations of actual misuse of compromised data.  Emphasizing the “low bar to establish [] standing at the pleading stage,” the D.C. Circuit reversed a

On June 19, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a public comment regarding the National Telecommunications & Information Administration’s (NTIA) draft guidance titled Communicating IoT Device Security Update Capability to Improve Transparency for Customers.  In commenting on the guidance, the FTC acknowledged the benefits of and challenges to IoT device security, and encouraged