Cybercrime disclosures rare despite new SEC rule…. But lawmakers plan to change this!|

Cybercrime disclosures rare despite new SEC rule.

In October of 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a non-mandatory guidance statement on cybersecurity and the reporting of security requirements. Despite this guidance, which was intended to clarify existing reporting requirements for publicly traded companies under Sarbanes-Oxley and other federal privacy laws and regulations, many companies are either not reporting cybersecurity breaches or are skirting the reporting requirements by making very general disclosures which appear designed to minimize or disguise the nature and severity such breaches.

In response to this dearth of meaningful reporting, the Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Scientce and Transportation Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, is seeking to add provisions to cybersecutiy laws that would strengthen and clarify breach-reporting obligations.  Among the results of these changes would be a requirement that the SEC clarify when companies must disclose cyber breached and requiring companies  to spell out the steps they are taking to protect their computer systems from intrusions.

In the wake of such spectacular hacks as the breach of LinkedIn’s site and the repeated intrusions into Wyndam Hotel’s systems (for which the FTC is actively pursuing punitive enforcement against the company), it has become increasingly clear that cyber-crime is a real risk to businesses. In response to the damage that such intrusions does to both investors and end-customers, the government is clearly placing increased pressure on companies to step up and combat this economic threat through implementation of better preventative measures and by disclosing the existence of breaches after the fact, to ensure that system issues within companies’ security are not simply swept under the proverbial rug. Increasingly businesses must make protection of critical infrastructure and its data storage, handling, and destruction key elements in their business planning and implementation, rather than the afterthought if often seems to be.


Woman fired by UT gets to pursue Sabbath complaint

Woman fired by UT gets to pursue Sabbath complaint.

The complex question of “What constitutes reasonable accommodation?” rears its ugly head again. In the absence of clear guidelines, employers are increasingly having to play guessing games as to whether their efforts to accommodate protected classes, such as religious minorities are reasonable. Often entangled with this issue is the question of whether the impact of certain potential accommodations are “unduly burdensome” to the employer.

These are issues which are very complex and very murky. In order to successful navigate the difficult shoals of establishing policies, procedures, and practices to deal with issues of accommodation of protected classes (with respect to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) and covered individuals under the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses need to make use of expert input and need to continual update these policies, procedures, and practices to adjust for both minor and major changes in the controlling law. While this process is cumbersome, the liabilities associated with failing to do so are significant.

Jason Biggs’ “Love Letter” to the Publishing Industry

Funny article! Even with tongue firmly planted in-cheek, Jason Biggs hits one point out of the park: the publishing industry has lost its way. It is desperately divided between “hanging on for dear life to a business model that simply cannot survive in its current state” on one hand and”recklessly dashing off to grab every quick, cheap dollar they can grab, at the expense of nurturing and developing author relationships and championing those authors to the world” on the other.
I, for one, hope that the publishing industry can find its way again. The industry is important avenue for literature to reach the consumer (assuming it can keep from completely self-immolating). While new avenues may emerge even if the industry in its current form goes the way of the Titanic, the damage to authors and consumers alike would be far worse than if it simply would come to grips with the changing market place and EVOLVE.

iOS Soars Ahead of Android Development As Apple Quietly Makes Move Into The Enterprise Market | TechCrunch

iOS Soars Ahead of Android Development As Apple Quietly Makes Move Into The Enterprise Market | TechCrunch.

Apple’s well oiled machine continues to draw a disproportionate share of developer attention and love to its iOS platform. And not just “fart apps”. Increasing numbers of developers are betting on iOS as the best positioned mobile OS to succeed in enterprise market.

A recent survey from Appcelerator now pegs that 53% of app developers are chose iOS as the enterprise winner vs. 38% picking Android. As Blackberry (among its many problem) has learned to its woe, developer sentiment and dedication are a huge factor in gaining and maintaining market penetration for a mobile OS. And iOS is the undisputed (at least for now) 900 pound gorilla in this category.

Hopefully this increasing push into the enterprise space will cause Apple to move to fix some of iOS still not insignificant security and device management issues.

NTP settles e-mail patent suit with Google, Apple, Microsoft and others | Mobile – CNET News

NTP settles e-mail patent suit with Google, Apple, Microsoft and others | Mobile – CNET News.

While the details of the settlement have not been made public, it appears likely that the value of the settlement is significant, given the fact that RIM’s settlement with NTP over the same patents a few short years ago was worth over $600M.

IT is worth noting that NTP is not a garden variety NPE/Troll. NTP’s founder, Thomas Campana, actually developed the e-mail technology which forms the basis of the patent litigation back in 1991.

It will be interesting to see what NTP does with its increasing riches. Will it invest in technology or will it be drawn into the role of the NPE/Troll. Only time will tell.

Big data and the changing economics of privacy — paidContent

Big data and the changing economics of privacy — paidContent.

The blog paidConent recently ran an interesting piece on the economics of preserving privacy in a world of Big Data. The reality is that information is gathered about individuals from a tremendous number of sources (credit card bills, online shopping sites, public records, etc.), much of which is bought and sold in volume for relatively tiny prices. Data aggregators can then take this information (along with records on millions of other individuals) and monetize this by selling access to it to any number of sources (from retailers, to debt collectors, an so forth).

Stopping this outbound flow of information, however, requires either considerable effort or considerable cost (or both). In the absence of meaningful legislation or industry policy on “do not collect” and/or “do not tract” the process of preserving privacy is increasingly difficult to achieve. The time has come to give greater attention to the implications of this ever eroding base of privacy and how, as a society, we want to deal with it. Legislation/regulation? Voluntary industry restraint? Surrender to the inevitability that there may/will be no privacy in the future? The best solution is far from obvious, but we are will overdue to begin the conversation in earnest.

Jack Daniel’s Sends the Most Polite Cease-and-Desist Letter Ever

Jack Daniel’s Sends the Most Polite Cease-and-Desist Letter Ever.

Jack Daniel’s has some smart lawyers. Rather than trying to bludgeon Patrick Wensink, who’s latest novel’s book jacket bears a more-than-striking resemblance to the storied whiskey bottle, the “cease and desist” letter sent by the distiller’s lawyers reinforces the brand and alternately thanks the author and appeals to his sensibilities as a fellow owner of valuable intellectual property. They even go so far as to offer to help defray some of the costs of removing the infringing book covers from the stream of commerce.

Rather than turning Wensink into an enemy, they essentially appeal to reason and seek to increase brand loyalty, rather than diminishing it with aggressive, threatening positions.

Kudos to Jack Daniel’s and their clever attorneys for turning a challenge into an opportunity, rather than just one more fight over IP.