The United States (US) Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has made available a speech (30 April 2013) delivered by CFTC chairperson Gary Gensler before the CFTC technology advisory committee in which he references a recent social media hacking incident.
Facebook and the United States National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) have jointly launched Safety and Privacy on Facebook, a consumer education campaign which aims to encourage Facebook users to understand and implement privacy controls on their social networking accounts.
Earlier this week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced new rules clarifying how companies can use Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks to publicize company information. Last December, the SEC warned Netflix of potential action after Reed Hastings, the company’s chief executive, congratulated his team on Facebook for exceeding a billion hours of video watched in a single month. The regulator was concerned the post violated the Regulation Fair Disclosure law which requires companies to disseminate material information to all investors at the same time.
Technological security firm MailGuard has stated that it "identified and stopped a torrent of malware laden emails purportedly coming from [the Australia based bank Westpac]" on 14 March 2013. According to MailGuard, in the hours after the email deliveries had been stopped, the malicious content "was still only being picked up by two of the 44 largest [anti-virus technology] providers".
Appearing last week on ABC’s “This Week,” House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers, R-Mich., indicated that the Chinese military and government is responsible for a growing number of cyber-attacks against companies located in the United States. “They use their military and intelligence structure to steal intellectual property from American businesses, and European businesses, and Asian businesses, re-purpose it and then compete in the international market against the United States,” Rogers said on the program. Companies have been reluctant to publicly complain about the attacks due to fears of losing opportunities in China’s growing economic market, according to ABC News’ George Will.
Laptops, a wallet, documents and a "communication device" were stolen from the home of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) head Shual Horev. According to The Guardian, Haaretz reported that "a computer was stolen [from Mr Horev's home], about which it's not known whether it was merely for his personal or business or included data he used in his work". Stanton nuclear security fellow Matthew Fuhrmann reportedly stated that "I am sceptical that there will be major state secrets on a laptop that has been allowed to leave the AEC, but in the case of the AEC chairman I'm not sure".
A secretive Chinese military unit is believed to be behind a series of hacking attacks, a U.S. computer security company said, prompting a strong denial by China and accusations that it was in fact the victim of U.S. hacking. The company, Mandiant, identified the People's Liberation Army's Shanghai-based Unit 61398 as the most likely driving force behind the hacking. Mandiant said it believed the unit had carried out "sustained" attacks on a wide range of industries.
Social media has created new ways for old violations to happen very broadly and in an instant. These can include disclosure of confidential information, libel, loss of IP, harassment and many others. Some organizations have established clearly defined social media policies while others are still trying to figure out how to navigate the waters. To complicate matters, some companies have an official corporate social media presence even though the legal and compliance risks are often not fully understood or addressed.
Federal regulators continue to order employers to scale back the social media policies that limit what employees are allowed to say online. While companies often discourage employees from disparaging managers, co-workers, or the company itself, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have said in recent rulings that these policies cannot discourage workers from communicating with each other with regards to improving wages, benefits, or working conditions. The agency has also ordered companies to reinstate workers fired for posts on social networks and has also urged companies to rewrite their social media policies.
As social media continues to become more ingratiated in our day to day lives, the use of social media in and out of the workplace has become a huge concern for compliance departments. As my former colleague Mary Snyder recently covered in the space, many companies have struggled to find the correct balance between protecting employees’ rights and protecting their companies’ reputation when crafting social media policies. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to rule that social media policies cannot impede on workers’ rights to communicate with one another regarding wages, benefits and working conditions. The latest ruling came last month when the NLRB found that five employees of social services provider Hispanic United of Buffalo had been wrongfully terminated for comments they posted on Facebook.