Legal Report Resources March 2016
Access. An employee was not criminally liable under a federal hacking statute for violating his employer-imposed computer use restrictions, a federal appeals court ruled. "While the government might promise that it would not prosecute an individual for checking Facebook at work, we are not at liberty to take prosecutors at their word in such matters," the court explained in its ruling on U.S. v. Valle. "A court should not uphold a highly problematic interpretation of a statute merely because the government promises to use it reasonably."
Data Breaches. Target will pay $39 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a class of banks in the first class-wide data breach pact ever reached by a group of financial institutions. The settlement stems from Target's massive data breach in 2013, which compromised more than 40 million credit and debit cards used at the retailer over a three-week period during the holiday season.
Cybersecurity. The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that creates a cybersecurity training center for local law enforcement. The bill (H.R. 3490) establishes a U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Computer Forensics Institute operated by the U.S. Secret Service to share cybersecurity information related to investigations and prevention of cyber and electronic crime.
Visas. The United States is boosting security for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows 20 million people to visit the United States from 38 partner countries per year without obtaining a visa. The Obama administration is pushing to enhance visa security for travelers to the United States in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015.
Terrorism. Abid Naseer, 29, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in planning to conduct a bombing at a shopping mall in Manchester, England, as part of an al Qaeda operation. Along with targeting the mall, Naseer and his accomplices were also planning to target the New York City subway system and a newspaper office in Copenhagen.
IP Theft. Nima Golestaneh, 30, an Iranian national, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and unauthorized access to computers related to his involvement in the 2012 hacking of a Vermont-based engineering consulting and software company. Golestaneh conspired with others to hack into Arrow Tech Associates Inc.'s network and computers to steal valuable company software and business information, according to his plea agreement.
Gun Control. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a case that would have challenged a Chicago suburb's assault weapons ban. Instead, the Court left in place a ruling that found that local governments have the authority to decide how to regulate firearms and upheld Highland Parks' 2013 gun law that bans semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines.
Airports. Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) introduced a bill that would allow commercial flight deck officers to be trained and permitted to carry concealed firearms on flights, between flights while in airports, and while commuting to and from the airport from their home.
Terrorism. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a bill that would require electronic communication service and remote computing services to report known communications about terrorist activities.
Cybersecurity. Ukrainian computer hacker Sergey Vovnenko, 29, pleaded guilty to using more than 13,000 computers to steal log-in and credit card data. Vovnenko, who was extradited to the United States from Italy, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated identify theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for the identify theft charge, and may face additional prison time for conspiracy.