What to Do about Data Security? A Discussion of the FTC’s LabMD & Wyndham Cases

Over the last decade, the Federal Trade Commission has settled nearly four dozen cases alleging that a failure to have “reasonable” data security constitutes an unfair or deceptive trade practice. The FTC has established no clear data security standards, and no court has ever ever ruled on the FTC’s assertions, but two pending litigations may finally finally allow the courts to rule on the legal validity of what the FTC calls its “common law of settlements” — and whether the agency can continue bringing such data security enforcement actions.

Join TechFreedom and Cause of Action for a livestreamed luncheon discussion on September 12 about these two cases and what they might mean for the future of consumer protection and competition regulation. We’ll hear from Mike Daugherty, founder of LabMD, a small cancer diagnostic lab based in Atlanta. Represented by Cause of Action, a non-profit dedicated to government transparency and accountability, LabMD is defending against the FTC complaint, which focuses on the fact that, in 2007, a government-funded surveillance program was able to access a file containing patient information on LabMD’s network through the Limewire filesharing program. Mike will preview his new bookThe Devil Inside the Beltway: The Shocking Exposé of the US Government’s Surveillance and Overreach into Cybersecurity, Medicine and Small Business, due out September 17. (Hint: the “devil” is a broader regulatory mentality.)

Our panel of legal experts will discuss the unique aspects of the LabMD case, especially the FTC’s decision not to prosecute filesharing services like Limewire for unfair trade practices in configuring their software to trick users into sharing files unintentionally — a decision the FTC eventually reversed, but not until it finally brought an enforcement action against Frostwire in 2011 for the same unfair practice. The panel will also discuss the larger legal issues raised by the LabMD case, the FTC’s pending litigation with Wyndham Hotels, and other recent cases settled by the FTC. Is the FTC’s approach consistent with the rule of law? Could it be? Does it actually protect consumers? What should the courts and Congress do?

Space is limited so RSVP now if you plan to attend in person. A livestream of the event will be availablehere. You can follow the conversation on Twitter on the #LabMD hashtag.

Thursday, September 12, 2013
12 p.m. (registration and coffee opens at 11:45, event and livestream at 12:15)

100 Maryland Ave NE
Washington D.C. 20002

Email contact@techfreedom.org.

Read TechFreedom’s amicus brief in the recent Wyndham and POM Wonderful cases for more legal analysis of how the FTC’s extra-legal regulations.