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U.S. State Department Changes Export Control Requirements for Secure Handling of Defense Technical Data, Easing Burden on U.S. Industry

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On December 26, 2019, the U.S. State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls announced it is amending the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to streamline requirements for the secure storage and transfer of defense technical data.  This rule change has important implications for IT service providers and companies that may wish to use cloud-based systems and services for the transfer, processing, and storage of ITAR technical data.

Read the full alert to learn about the new regulations and their potential benefits to U.S. companies and their overseas partners.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCAM). NCAM serves as a timely reminder to continue to assess and improve organizational cybersecurity.

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Second Circuit Holds That Blocking Users’ Access To Presidential Twitter Account Violates First Amendment

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On July 9, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from blocking social media users from accessing the Twitter account @realDonaldTrump.  See Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University v. Trump, — F.3d –, 2019 WL 2932440 (2d Cir. July 9, 2019).

The Court noted that President Trump “concedes that he blocked the Individual Plaintiffs because they posted tweets that criticized him or his policies,” and “that such criticism is protected speech.”  However, the government contended that when the President took that action “he was exercising control over a private, personal account,” the character of which had not changed since it had been opened as a social media platform in 2009 to share opinions on popular culture, world affairs, and politics.  The government further argued that the Twitter account is not a public forum or, in the alternative, if the Court were to find that the account was a public forum, that blocking the individual plaintiffs “did not prevent them from accessing the forum.”

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Coming Soon to Singapore: Mandatory Data Breach Notifications

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Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) issued a statement on March 1 announcing its plan to introduce mandatory breach notifications as part of a set of proposed amendments to the country’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA). The proposed amendments come in response to the PDPC’s recent review of the PDPA in order “to ensure that it keeps pace with the evolving needs of businesses and individuals, and balances safeguarding individuals’ interests and enables the legitimate use of personal data by organisations.” The details of the mandatory breach notification have not yet been made public, but the amendment will likely require organizations to notify the PDPC and affected data subjects when a certain level of breach has occurred.

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New Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence

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On February 11, 2019, President Trump signed an Executive Order on “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence.”  The Executive Order (EO) recognizes that the United States is the world leader in AI research and development (R&D) and deployment,” and that “[c]ontinued American leadership in AI is of paramount importance. . . .”

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N.Y. Attorney General Enforces Mobile App Security Initiative, Announces Settlements with Five Companies

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In December 2018, the New York Attorney General’s Office announced settlements with five companies operating mobile apps, including Equifax and Western Union. The N.Y. Attorney General stated that the companies failed to keep sensitive information secure on their mobile apps and have agreed to implement improved security controls. The settlements came following a data privacy initiative by the Attorney General’s Office to proactively identify security vulnerabilities before consumer information is breached. As part of this effort, the Attorney General’s Office tested dozens of mobile apps that collect sensitive information.

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