Cybersecurity & Data Privacy

data-security-concept478427617TSBusinesses have revolutionized the way they reach customers. Through computers, smart phones, iPads and a host of other technologies, we can now make purchasing decisions from the comfort of our homes. All we need to do is enter our personal information and our credit card data, and one click later that product magically appears at our doorstep, ready to be used.

But the convenience brought to us by the technological revolution comes with its vices. Our personal information is handed over to businesses, sometimes without our knowledge, and those businesses can then track our online activities, ranging from websites we frequent, to what products we purchase, to what we “mouse-over,” and a host of other things. They then store that information to one day use to their advantage in marketing efforts.


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IRS Refund_479969589Nearly every day there’s another news story about another company suffering a data breach, either as a result of a lost or stolen device or because the company was hacked. Talk to any number of knowledgeable attorneys skilled in handling breaches, and each will guide you through a similar process for providing notice, obtaining credit monitoring or identity restoration, and complying with regulatory and other legal obligations. Yet no matter the recommendations, the antiquated processes in place at the IRS make it practically impossible for companies to protect someone from a fraudulently filed tax return.
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digital-devices-news166732848TSLast week, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that individuals have the “right to be forgotten.” In other words, individuals have the right to control their data and can ask search engines to remove links to results containing certain information. This ruling has far-reaching implications not only for the EU but also for the United States.

This case involved an appeal by a Spanish national who had complained to Google about online newspaper reports Google had indexed relating to debt-recovery proceedings against him from 1998. When the individual’s name was entered into Google, it brought up results providing a link to newspaper accounts of the debt proceedings. The court ordered the links stricken from Google’s search results.


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I often speak to groups of professionals on how to avoid errors and omissions claims. When I started making such presentations more than 30 years ago, I would hold up a piece of notebook paper and explain that it was a professional’s “best friend” when it comes to avoiding future problems. A memo of a conversation with a client detailing and confirming the services that can (or can’t) be delivered and the realistic outcomes that can (or can’t) result from those services may provide the best defense when a client complains. This is only true to a point. Sometimes, written communications provide a client with ammunition for a claim of negligence.
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tablet imageAs part of my blog training, I was asked to review my social media presence in general and in particular my LinkedIn account. My profile, admittedly, had not been reviewed in some time, so I updated my bio and skills section.

This made me think about “puffing,” which I learned about in my Contracts class in law school. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is something we experience daily in sales transactions and advertising. Puffing is the exaggeration of the positives of a service or product or anything else someone is looking to sell. Any advertisement that includes superlatives – such as “greatest,” or “best” – or statements that are clearly not intended as factual representations are not generally actionable if you buy the “product” and find it to be lacking. Consumers dealing with a salesperson should expect some level of “puffing.”


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