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The Memphis Business Journal reports that United States District Judge Henry T. Wingate has denied Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's attempt to block Google from accessing correspondence between Mr Hood and the Motion Picture Association of America.

The ruling forms part of Google's lawsuit against Mr Hood, which reportedly came about after Mr Hood "subpoenaed information from Google over what the attorney general says is related to an investigation over Google sharing its [advertising] revenue with makers of videos who promote illegal drug sales". According to the Memphis Business Journal, Google then filed its lawsuit against Hood alleging that the attorney general's investigation was illegal, and that Mr Hood is assisting the Motion Picture Association of America in a campaign to "use legal action to investigate online piracy in ways not approved by Congress".
Memphis Business Journal: Judge sides with Google against Mississippi Attorney General (13 April 2015)
(Source: Memphis Business Journal)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it has approved a decision and order (30 March 2015) barring Health Discovery Corporation from making misleading or deceptive representations that its consumer directed iOS or Android software application MelApp can assess or diagnose melanoma risk early by analysing digital images of skin lesions captured by smart phones. Health Discovery Corporation has also been ordered to pay US$17,963 and to refrain from "claiming that any device detects or diagnoses melanoma or its risk factors, or increases users' chances of early detection, unless the representation is not misleading and is supported by competent and scientific evidence".
FTC's media release (13 April 2015)
(Source: FTC)

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that Lakeland Eye Clinic has agreed to pay US$150,000 to settle allegations of sex discrimination against a transgender person. The EEOC alleged that Lakeland Eye Clinic fired its hearing services director  "after she began to present as a woman and informed [her employer] that she was transgender, despite the fact that [she] had performed her duties satisfactorily throughout her employment".

EEOC general counsel David Lopez described the settlement as historically significant, adding that "[i]t not only is one of the first two lawsuits ever filed by the [EEOC] alleging sex discrimination against a transgender individual, but it also solidifies the EEOC's commitment to enforcing the rights of transgender employees secured by the [Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (further information)].
EEOC's media release (13 April 2015)
(Source: EEOC)

Wells Fargo has announced that it has selected four clean technology startup companies for its US$10 million, five year Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) program (further information), which is funded by Wells Fargo and co-administered by the US Department of Energy's national renewable energy laboratory (NREL). The program will provide the startup companies with a combination of up to US$250,000 each, access to NREL's research facility and mentorship from Wells Fargo's financial and technical experts. NREL innovation and entrepreneurship centre director Richard Adams said that "[t]he IN2 program serves as a model for private and public sector collaboration working together for one common goal".

According to Wells Fargo, the IN2 program "was developed to advance the commercialization of new sustainable technologies by validating them in the [NREL's research facility] and then piloting them in select Wells Fargo locations".
Wells Fargo's media release (9 April 2015)
(Source: Wells Fargo; NREL)

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that cardiovascular testing disease laboratories Health Diagnostics Laboratory Inc and Singulex Inc have agreed to pay US$48 million to settle allegations that they breached the False Claims Act (further information) by "paying remuneration to physicians in exchange for patient referrals and billing federal health care programs for medically unnecessary testing".

DoJ Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Mizer warned that "[h]ealth care providers that attempt to profit by providing illegal inducements will be held accountable", adding that "[the DoJ] will continue to advocate for the appropriate use of Medicare funds and the proper care of ... senior citizens".
DoJ's media release (9 April 2015)
(Source: DoJ; Cornell University Law School)

Published in Government Contracting

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has made available Update on Cyber Security in the Banking Sector: Third-Party Service Providers (April 2015) (the Update Report), which is based on a survey NYDFS conducted of 40 banking firms about the "cyber security standards those firms have in place for their third-party vendors". The Update Report provides an update on NYDFS's Report on Cyber Security in the Banking Sector (May 2014), which "highlighted the [banking] industry's reliance on third-party service providers for critical banking functions as a continuing challenge".

According to NYDFS, key findings of the Update Report include that:

  • "[n]early 1 in 3 ... of the banks surveyed do not require their third-party vendors to notify them in the event of an information security breach or other cyber security breach";
  • "[f]ewer than half of the banks surveyed conduct any on-site assessments of their third-party vendors";
  • "[a]pproximately 1 in 5 banks surveyed do not require third-party vendors to represent that they have established minimum information security requirements"; and
  • "[n]early half of the banks do not require a warranty of the integrity of the third-party vendors' data or products".

NYDFS's media release (9 April 2015)

Related news item:
The New York Times: Wall St. Is Told to Tighten Digital Security of Partners (8 April 2015)
(Source: NYDFS; The New York Times)

Published in Information Security

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that a US district court has made a summary judgment (6 March 2015) ordering affiliate marketing network LeadClick Media (LeadClick) and its parent company CoreLogic Inc (CoreLogic) to pay US$16 million, after the court found that affiliate marketers recruited by LeadClick on behalf of LeanSpa LLC (LeanSpa) developed fake news sites which "deceived consumers by using real news organization names and logos along with purported testimonials from users of LeanSpa's [weight loss] products".

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that massive open online course platform provider edX Inc (edX) has agreed to settle allegations that it breached the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. The DoJ alleged that the platform provided by edX was "not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who have physical disabilities affecting manual dexterity".

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Austin Alcala, a fourth member of an international computer hacking ring has pleaded guilty to "conspiracy to commit computer intrusions and criminal copyright infringement based on his role in the cyber theft of software and data related to the Xbox One gaming console and Xbox Live online gaming system, and popular games such as the ['FIFA'] online soccer series; ['Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3']; and ['Gears of War 3']" between 2012 and 2014.

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that Robinson Health System Inc has agreed to pay US$10 million to resolve allegations that it breached the False Claims Act (further information), the Anti-Kickback Statute (further information) and the Social Security Act (further information) by "engaging in improper financial relationships with referring physicians". The DoJ alleged that the physicians entered into management agreements with Robinson Health System and were given payments for management services, but "failed to provide sufficient bona fide management services to have justified the payments they received".

Published in Government Contracting
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