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Prepare for the Coming of the Privacy Police

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is employing its authority to regulate deceptive and unfair practices to go after companies that impinge on consumer privacy. The agency is also finding new ways to apply old laws to current practices. As the amount of online data about consumers multiplies, so does the number and sophistication of attackers trying to get it. And the issue becomes critical as the attacks target corporate intellectual property and the nation’s infrastructure. “Paying attention to cybersecurity is a business imperative,” said Christopher Wolf, a Hogan Lovells partner. “There are repeated attacks on infrastructure, and businesses need to protect their trade secrets and preserve the ability to operate their business. There are also privacy issues if personal data is affected. I expect to see more attention by Congress and the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] to corporate disclosures on cybersecurity.” Although there is a lot of interest in consumer privacy on Capitol Hill, rifts between and within the parties stand in the way of Congressional action.

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