An Employment Lawyer Looks at FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide

The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its ruling in FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp. in which it found that the FTC has the authority to regulate in the area of cybersecurity.

While the opinion does not specifically address the employment relationship, it is has very important implications for employment lawyers.

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FTC: Employment Law #Gamechanger?

The Federal Trade Commission is deeply involved in the intersection of emerging technology and the employer-employee relationship.  Two such areas merit a closer look: social media endorsements and cybersecurity.  (I have previously written about the FTC on the subjects of big data and IoT in the workplace).

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Procuring IoT: Data Integrity and Security

The Internet of Things (IoT) is undoubtedly going to play a major role in the workplace.  Because an employer has a number of critical employee-related interests in securing IoT data, including protecting securing otherwise private employee and business information as well as protecting trade secrets, employment lawyers should be in the conversation with the technology acquisition and development teams as they develop an IoT acquisition policy.  Here is how to create such a policy.

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2015 ABA National Symposium on Technology and Employment Law

I was just at the 2015 ABA National Symposium on Technology and Employment Law and had the privilege of participating in a panel about big bata and bias in employment law.  The conference was really, hour for hour, two of the most valuable days of my legal career.

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EEOC, Big Data and Disparate Impact: Barking up the Wrong Tree

It has been widely reported that EEOC Assistant Legal Counsel Carol Miaskoff, when addressing a conference on big data, shared her belief that employers should be concerned with the disparate impact of their employment-related data mining and analysis.

I am not convinced that she is right.   I don’t think disparate impact will be the theory on which plaintiffs successfully attack big data in employment — I think it will be on a theory of  intentional discrimination through proof of a discriminatory “pattern and practice.”

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Quick Take: FTC’s New Report on the Internet of Things

From the FTC’s new report on the Internet of Things [pdf]:

IoT presents a variety of potential security risks that could be exploited to harm consumers by: (1) enabling unauthorized access and misuse of personal information; (2) facilitating attacks on other systems; and (3) creating risks to personal safety. …[P] rivacy risks may flow from the collection of personal information, habits, locations, and physical conditions over time… companies might use this data to make credit, insurance, and employment decisions.

Overall recommendations:

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8 Trends in the Transformation of Tech-Related Employment Law

2015 will see the broadening and deepening of the transformation of tech-related employment law.

Here are eight reasons why:

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Big Data: Critical Concerns for Employment Lawyers

The price of data storage and sophisticated analytics are dropping.  This will herald a sea-change in how employment cases are litigated, including both class actions (initially) and individual cases (eventually).  Employment lawyers will need to:

  • be involved in data governance;
  • apply basic statistical methods to the results of data mining; and
  • get deep “under the hood” of the data scientist’s work product.

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