Tag Archives: Coronavirus

City of Baltimore May Criminalize the Use of Facial Recognition Technologies by Businesses

The Baltimore City Council recently passed an ordinance, in a vote of 13-2, barring the use of facial recognition technology by city residents, businesses, and most of the city government (excluding the city police department) until December 2022.  Council Bill 21-0001  prohibits persons from “obtaining, retaining, accessing, or using certain face surveillance technology or any … Continue Reading

DOH Employee Error Causes Breach of COVID-19 and Other Health Data Affecting Nearly 165,000 Individuals

In a recent post, we highlighted the need for a privacy and cybersecurity training program, one not solely focused on spotting phishing attempts (although that is quite important as well). A primary reason, quite simply, is that employees continue to be a leading cause of data breaches. This fact was reaffirmed for the Wyoming Department … Continue Reading

Developing a Privacy and Cybersecurity Training Program for Employees

Increased remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated privacy and cybersecurity concerns, and likely has not changed the finding in Experian’s 2015 Second Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast: Employees and negligence are the leading cause of security incidents but remain the least reported issue. A more recent state of the industry report … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Vaccination: Setting Up An On-site Program

The Biden administration reportedly has called for all people at least 18 to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, 2021, two weeks earlier than its prior goal of May 1, and less than a week away. Most states have already done so. Without the barriers created by state-by-state priority rules, the rate … Continue Reading

Travel 2.0: Vaccine Passports and Visas—What’s Next on the Horizon

One of the industries perhaps hardest hit by the coronavirus, the travel industry, received welcomed news late last week in the form of CDC guidance stating that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume domestic travel and do not need to get tested for COVID-19 before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel. According to … Continue Reading

California State Healthcare Worker Accesses COVID-19 Data on More Than 2,000 Patients and Employees

As we noted in late January 2020, the spread of infectious disease raises particular concerns for healthcare workers who want to do their jobs and care for their patients, while also protect themselves and their families. Perhaps the desire to protect one’s self and family is what motivated a California state healthcare worker to access … Continue Reading

Top 10 for 2021 – Happy Data Privacy Day!

In honor of Data Privacy Day, we provide the following “Top 10 for 2021.”  While the list is by no means exhaustive, it does provide some hot topics for organizations to consider in 2021. COVID-19 privacy and security considerations. During 2020, COVID-19 presented organizations large and small with new and unique data privacy and security … Continue Reading

CDC Expands Guidance on Workplace SARS-CoV-2 Testing to Require Informed Consent

As employers continue to grapple with a safe return to the workplace, on January 21, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance for businesses and employers on SARS-CoV-2 testing of employees, as part of a more comprehensive approach to reducing transmission of the virus in non-healthcare workplaces. While the CDC … Continue Reading

Phishing Attack Messaging Targets COVID-19 Vaccine

In April of this year, which seems far longer than eight months ago, we posted about an alert from federal agencies warning that cyber threat actors were exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to fuel phishing and other attacks. Those efforts have continued throughout the year with attackers now retooling their messaging around the COVID-19 vaccine. Criminal … Continue Reading

New York and New Jersey Release COVID-19 Exposure Apps

New York and New Jersey release “COVID Alert NY” and “COVID Alert NJ,” apps designed to alert their users when they have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. These apps follow those released in Pennsylvania and Delaware and are soon to be joined by Connecticut. The states hope to enhance their contact … Continue Reading

More EEOC COVID-19 Guidance: Testing, Screening, Managers, Confidentiality, and Telework

Since March of this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released guidance on a near-monthly basis addressing various FAQs concerning COVID-19 issues. The guidance has focused on disability-related inquiries, confidentiality, hiring, and reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as issues under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act … Continue Reading

Will the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act Make it into the Next Stimulus Package?

Despite several attempts, Congress has struggled to push forward a federal consumer privacy law over the past few years. But the COVID-19 pandemic, which has raised concerns regarding location monitoring, GPS tracking and use of health data, has heightened the urgency for federal consumer privacy legislation. In May, a group of Democrats from the U.S. … Continue Reading

New Ransomware Tactics and Strains Emerge, Including Public Auctions of Stolen Data

As many have learned over the last several years, ransomware is a type of malware that denies affected users access to critical data by encrypting it. Attackers profit handsomely by requiring victims to pay substantial sums, typically tendered in a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. A look at some of the numbers over the past two … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Guidance on Antibody Testing in the Workplace

In late-March and April 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance addressing various questions with answers concerning COVID-19 and related workplace disability-related issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Recently, on June 17th, the EEOC updated its guidance to include a new question regarding antibody testing. Most of the questions concern general … Continue Reading

Federal COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Bill Introduced

As the COVID-19 pandemic presses on, legislators and regulators continue to remind the public of the importance of data security and privacy protections. On April 30th, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced plans to introduce (jointly with several co-sponsors) the COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act. … Continue Reading

Legislators and Regulators Weigh in On Privacy and Data Security Protections for Healthcare Providers Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

As they work to combat the surging COVID-19 virus, healthcare providers recently were reminded by legislators and regulators of the importance of data security and privacy protections. On the data security front, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, Tom Cotton, David Perdue, and Mark Warner recently wrote to the Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s … Continue Reading

Videoconferencing Zooms to the Forefront in the COVID-19 World

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, many companies throughout the country have arranged for significant portions of their workforce to work from home. A natural part of that arrangement is conducting videoconferences. With employees working at home in isolation, many seek opportunities to connect with others through a visual medium. Thus, companies are using videoconferencing to … Continue Reading

More OCR Guidance on COVID-19 and HIPAA Relief – Business Associates

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been moving swiftly to provide guidance on addressing key regulatory issues to aid in the fight to contain and defeat COVID-19. Some of the latest developments include exercising its enforcement discretion on certain good faith disclosures of protected health information (PHI) by business associates, adding FAQs for telehealth … Continue Reading

Key Components of a COVID-19 Screening Program

Stopping the spread of coronavirus is critical to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. As testing is ramping up around the country, some states and localities have imposed health screening requirements in an effort to identify persons at risk of being infected and stopping them from infecting others. Whether mandatory or recommended, screening employees and visitors could … Continue Reading

OCR HIPAA Guidance For Getting PHI of COVID-19 Exposed Individuals to First Responders

With first responders on the front lines of helping to fight the coronavirus, sharing information about potential exposure to COVID-19 is critical to protecting them and preventing further spread. In these situations, the information shared is most often “protected health information” (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates Its 2009 Guidance Concerning Pandemic Preparedness

On March 19, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its 2009 pandemic preparedness guidance: Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act. It includes the following note: The EEOC is updating this 2009 publication to address its application to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Employers and employees should follow guidance from the … Continue Reading

HHS Removes Enforcement Barriers for Telehealth during COVID-19 Nationwide Public Health Emergency

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to make it easier for individuals to reach a healthcare provider, including those most at risk (older persons and persons with disabilities). Effective immediately, during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency, OCR announced it will not enforce noncompliance with … Continue Reading

HIPAA Privacy Rule Waiver, Other Medical Information Questions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the coronavirus spreads across the globe and in the United States, providers, businesses, employers, and others are struggling to understand what medical information they can collect and what information they can share. These are difficult questions the answers to which involve considering factors such as long-standing compliance requirements (e.g., HIPAA, ADA, GINA, state law), … Continue Reading

Work-From-Home Checklist During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The debate over working from home continues, reaching a high point in 2013 when Marissa Mayer, then CEO of Yahoo, sought to curb the practice. However, as the Coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., more companies are instructing their employees to work-from-home as a social distancing technique to help contain the spread and remain … Continue Reading
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