FTC Issues Settlement Requiring Zoom to Implement Robust Information Security Program in Response to Years of Deceptive Security Practices

FTC Issues Settlement Requiring Zoom to Implement Robust Information Security Program in Response to Years of Deceptive Security Practices

On November 9, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement agreement with Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (Zoom) that arose from alleged violations that Zoom engaged in a series of deceptive and unfair practices that undermined user security.

The FTC found that Zoom made several representations across its platform regarding the strength of its privacy and security measures used to protect users’ personal information that were untrue and provided users with a false sense of security. Specifically, the FTC found that Zoom made multiple statements regarding “end-to-end” and “AES 256-bit” encryption used to secure videoconference communications. However, Zoom did not provide end-to-end encryption for any Zoom meeting conducted outside of Zoom’s “Connecter” product. And, Zoom used a lower level of encryption that did not provide for the same level of security as “AES 256-bit” encryption. The FTC also found that Zoom stored meeting recordings unencrypted and for a longer period than Zoom claimed in its Security Guide. And, Zoom circumvented browser privacy and security safeguards through software updates without notice to users and without establishing replacement safeguards.

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FTC Investigation of Twitter for Alleged Privacy Violations Reinforces Need for Strong Privacy Policies and Practices

FTC Investigation of Twitter for Alleged Privacy Violations Reinforces Need for Strong Privacy Policies and Practices

On August 3, 2020, Twitter disclosed in a regulatory filing that it is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegations that the company used user phone numbers and email addresses for targeted advertising in violation of a 2011 Consent Agreement. Twitter estimates that it could face $150 to $250 million in losses due to legal fees and enforcement penalties resulting from this matter.

The 2011 Consent Agreement resolved charges that Twitter violated the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) when hackers obtained administrative control of Twitter allowing them access to non-public user information, private tweets, and the ability to send out fake tweets from any user’s account. The FTC found that Twitter’s actions neither upheld statements in its privacy policy, nor provided reasonable and appropriate security to prevent unauthorized access to nonpublic user data and honor the privacy choices of its users.

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Justine M. Kasznica – Emerging Technologies Attorney

Justine M. Kasznica – Emerging Technologies Attorney

This is one in a series of profiles featuring members of Babst Calland’s Emerging Technologies team of attorneys who provide business and legal representation on matters impacting companies developing or investing in new technologies and businesses.

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Emerging Technologies in a Time of Pandemic – Part III

Emerging Technologies in a Time of Pandemic – Part III

Can Technology Help Us Return to Work? 

Coronavirus restrictions are both easing and tightening in cities around the country, and a nationwide return to work seems further off than it did a month ago. But it is never too early to plan ahead. As the United States looks to safely return to work, offices are preparing for a radical shift, accelerating a need for emerging technologies to address challenges in the workplace. Separation, space, health, and cleanliness concerns are paramount, in an abrupt about-face from the pre-virus trends towards flexible workspaces and open floor plans. This has created a host of novel issues for business administrators, who are leveraging technology to keep work environments safe while maintaining a semblance of business normalcy in these unprecedented times.

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From Idea to Invention to Intellectual Property: What Startups and Innovators Need to Know

From Idea to Invention to Intellectual Property: What Startups and Innovators Need to Know

On Thursday, June 11, 2020, Attorneys Justine Kasznica and Carl Ronald joined the Scott Institute’s Jay Whitacre and Anna Siefken for an informative discussion, “From Idea to Invention to Intellectual Property: What Startups and Innovators Need to Know.”  To view this discussion, click here.

Client Spotlight: Congratulations, Astrobotic!

Client Spotlight: Congratulations, Astrobotic!

An artist’s rendering of NASA’s VIPER rover, which will roam the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice.
(Source: NASA)

Today, we are thrilled to celebrate with Astrobotic Technology, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based space robotics and lunar transportation and logistics company, on receiving a $199.5 NASA award to send the NASA Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the lunar surface in 2023 to search for water-ice. Not only is this a historically significant mission, as it is the first “resource-mapping” mission of its kind, this is an amazing achievement for a company that that has worked tirelessly for 13 years to prove a new commercial space market. For more information, click here.

Our Emerging Technologies attorneys are fortunate to work with incredible innovators, entrepreneurs and visionaries pushing the frontiers of technology and industry. We love to showcase our clients, especially when they hit notable milestones that may be of interest to our entire Babst Calland EmTech family.

Our newly launched EmTech Blog will enable us to do more of these Client Spotlights, so stay tuned! If you would like your company to be featured, please send accomplishments or highlights to jkasznica@babstcalland.com.

Emerging Technologies in a Time of Pandemic – Part II

Emerging Technologies in a Time of Pandemic – Part II

Regulatory Challenges to Fully Utilizing Existing Technology

On May 1st, Amazon Prime premiered Upload, the story of a software engineer whose consciousness is transferred to the cloud after his fully autonomous vehicle (AV) rear-ends another car. The accident takes place in 2033. By then, the show imagines, vehicles that drive themselves will be the default. We won’t spoil the ending. But, in the fictional 2033 only 13 years from now—the public is astounded when the vehicle is involved in a wreck. It is an entertaining take on the future. In reality, however, we’ve got a lot of regulations to update if autonomous vehicles (AVs) are going to play the role imagined in Upload.

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Emerging Technologies in a Time of Pandemic – Part I

Emerging Technologies in a Time of Pandemic – Part I

Opportunities: Leveraging Technology to Meet New Demands

Most of the world is staying home,  but businesses must still pay their bills.  In late April the federal government estimated the U.S. economy contracted by 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020, mostly due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Because the real economic consequences  of social distancing  occurred in April, future numbers will likely be as bleak, if not worse.

Yet, some businesses are taking bold steps, innovating in communications with their customers, and leveraging pre-existing tools to retool how their customers interact with the company and its product. Companies that never before offered delivery are experimenting with last mile logistics. Farms whose regular restaurant or hotel customers are closed due to public health orders are retooling their supply chains to supply local households. And companies that previously relied on face-to-face interactions are turning to virtual solutions to bring their product to market, even in a field like wine production—where taste is an essential part of the purchasing decision. These companies described here provide just a few examples of how creatively leveraging existing technologies can allow a company to maintain operations.

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Babst Calland Lands 2024 Space Mission Legal Work for Astrobotic

Babst Calland Lands 2024 Space Mission Legal Work for Astrobotic

Firm to Develop Legal/Commercial Framework for Payload Service for NASA’s Artemis Human Landing System

Babst Calland today announced that under a recently announced NASA award, Astrobotic Technologies, Inc. (Astrobotic) has selected the firm to develop what could become the first-of-its-kind blueprint for commercial payload delivery to space for the Artemis human missions as well as future human-crewed space missions.

Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic will be developing the commercial payload service for Dynetics (a Leidos subsidiary), one of three prime contractors (alongside SpaceX and Blue Origin) selected by NASA to design and build a commercial Human Landing System (HLS) and compete to build a privately-developed system to take the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 as part of the NASA Artemis program.

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Trump Administration Partners with US DOT in Releasing New Autonomous Vehicle Guidance

Trump Administration Partners with US DOT in Releasing New Autonomous Vehicle Guidance

On January 8, 2020, the Trump administration, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT), issued Automated Vehicles 4.0: Ensuring American Leadership in Automated Vehicle Technologies. This is the federal government’s fourth iteration of its voluntary guidance on autonomous vehicles (AVs). So far, the US DOT’s hands-off approach to AV regulation has allowed for technological innovation while allowing industry participants and states to explore different avenues for testing AV technologies on public roads.  AV 4.0 does not disturb this approach, and instead focuses on explaining the research and development happening across the federal government and the opportunities for stakeholders to become involved.

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Legal Tech: Babst Calland & Solvaire: An AI Contract Review Use Case

Legal Tech: Babst Calland & Solvaire: An AI Contract Review Use Case

Babst Calland and our technology affiliate, Solvaire, have been performing complex due diligence, discovery, and document management projects for clients for more than 20 years. Our clients look to us for due diligence guidance in the areas of acquisitions and divestitures, as well as complex corporate, commercial and real estate transactions.

The firm has a long history of utilizing the latest technologies to enhance contract review. And, in the last few years, the firm has taken a deep look at AI-assisted review and its ability to enhance efficiency and reduce cost for clients. Saying that we have become “AI Believers” in the process is an understatement. After many AI tool evaluations, trials, and getting numerous AI projects under our belts, we have become our clients’ go-to resource in leveraging AI for their benefit.

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Carl A. Ronald – Intellectual Property Attorney

Carl A. Ronald – Intellectual Property Attorney

This is the first in a series of profiles featuring members of Babst Calland’s Emerging Technologies team of attorneys who provide business and legal representation on matters impacting companies developing or investing in new technologies and businesses. We hope you enjoy meeting and getting to know our team.

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