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A previous installment discussed the centrality of network topology to an organization’s data security and outlined the legal framework and obligations incumbent upon many organizations in the U.S. The first installment can be found here. The second and final part of this series will discuss strategies for optimizing network topology and data security, focusing on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework as one of several security frameworks with broad industry recognition.

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework is a voluntary set of standards, guidelines, and best practices for improving the security and resilience of critical infrastructure sectors. It was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in collaboration with various stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and it is widely recognized as a valuable tool for enhancing data security practices across different industries and organizations. Network topology plays a pivotal role within this framework, as it is the foundational blueprint upon which the security measures are built.

Five Functions of the NIST Framework

For each of the five core functions of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework – Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover – network topology influences the implementation and performance of the corresponding subcategories. Network topology helps organizations identify and protect their network assets and data, detect and respond to network incidents, and recover from network breaches. Some examples are:

  • Identify (ID) Function: This function involves developing an organizational understanding of the systems, assets, data, and capabilities that must be protected. Network topology supports this function by helping organizations inventory their physical devices and systems (ID.AM-1), map their organizational communication and data flows (ID.AM-3), and identify their network boundaries (ID.BE-5).
  • Protect (PR) Function: This function involves developing and implementing appropriate safeguards to ensure the delivery of critical services. Network topology helps organizations protect the integrity of their network (PR.AC-5), implement network segmentation (PR.AC-6), encrypt data in transit and at rest (PR.DS-2), and manage network access rights (PR.AC-1).
  • Detect (DE) Function: This function involves developing and implementing appropriate activities to identify the occurrence of a cybersecurity event, with network topology supporting the monitoring network activity (DE.AE-1), detecting anomalies and events (DE.AE-2), and implementing continuous monitoring capabilities (DE.CM-1).
  • Respond (RS) Function: This function involves developing and implementing appropriate activities to take action regarding a detected cybersecurity event. Network topology helps organizations analyze network incidents (RS.AN-1), contain network incidents (RS.CO-1), eradicate network incidents (RS.ER-1), and communicate network incidents internally and externally (RS.CO-2).
  • Recover (RC) Function: This function involves developing and implementing appropriate activities to maintain plans for resilience and to restore any capabilities or services that were impaired due to a cybersecurity event. Network topology aids organizations to restore network services (RC.RP-1), improve network recovery planning (RC.IM-1), and incorporate lessons learned from network incidents (RC.IM-2).

Maintaining a secure network topology in alignment with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework can be challenging for organizations due to the complexity and diversity of network environments, the evolving nature of cyber threats, and the variability of legal standards. In consideration of these complexities, organizations can be guided by some best practices, such as:

  • Conducting regular risk assessments to identify and prioritize network vulnerabilities and threats.
  • Updating network diagrams and documentation to reflect changes in network configuration, devices, data, and legal requirements.
  • Implementing industry-standard security controls, such as firewalls, antivirus software, encryption, authentication, authorization, etc., to protect network assets and data.
  • Using network discovery tools, diagramming software, and monitoring systems to automate and simplify the network mapping process.
  • Training employees on security awareness and best practices for using network resources.

FTC Endorsement of the NIST Framework

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the primary federal agency responsible for protecting consumers and promoting competition, has recognized the value and consistency of the NIST Framework with its approach to data security, acknowledging its usefulness and relevance for businesses of all sizes and sectors, without formally endorsing it. The NIST Framework is aligned with the FTC’s data security guidance and enforcement actions, which are based on a case-by-case evaluation of the reasonableness of data security practices, considering factors such as the nature and size of the business, the sensitivity and volume of the data, and the availability and cost of tools to improve security and reduce vulnerabilities. The FTC has recognized the NIST Framework in various official publications, statements, and collaborative efforts with NIST. Some examples are:

  • The FTC published a blog post explaining how the NIST Framework is consistent with the FTC’s data security guidance, summarized in its “Start with Security” initiative. The blog post links other resources to help businesses implement the NIST Framework.
  • The FTC’s “Data Breach Response: A Guide for Business” mentions the NIST Framework as one of several sources of additional information on data security. The guide provides practical advice on effectively preparing for and responding to data breaches.
  • In various congressional testimonies, the FTC chairperson has acknowledged the relevance and usefulness of the NIST Framework for improving data security. The chair also highlighted the FTC’s collaboration with NIST on developing standards and guidelines for privacy and consumer protection, such as the Privacy Framework and the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

Cross-Mapping the NIST Framework with Data Security Standards

Network topology not only assists with implementing the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, it also supports compliance with various information security standards that apply to different sectors and contexts. Several of the NIST Framework’s core functions, such as “Identify” and “Protect,” require organizations to understand their network layout, assets and vulnerabilities. Network topology directly supports these functions by identifying and prioritizing critical assets, assessing risks, and implementing protective measures. These standards provide specific controls and guidelines directly related to network topology and mapping and help organizations achieve data security objectives such as confidentiality, integrity, availability, accountability, and resilience. These standards are:

Center for Internet Security (CIS) Controls: These universally recognized controls provide actionable guidance for enhancing an organization’s cybersecurity stance. Network topology intertwines closely with CIS Control 1 (Inventory and Control of Hardware Assets) and Control 2 (Inventory and Control of Software Assets). Accurate mapping of network assets and their configurations is central to these controls, specifically aligning with CIS Control 1.1 (Active Physical Asset Inventory) and CIS Control 2.1 (Inventory of Authorized and Unauthorized Software).

COBIT 2019: The COBIT framework aids organizations in governing and managing enterprise IT, aligning IT with business objectives. Network topology is particularly relevant within the COBIT control framework, notably in Control APO12 (Managed Business Process Controls) and Control DSS02 (Manage Service Requests and Incidents). Accurate network mapping substantiates COBIT’s objectives by facilitating efficient resource allocation, directly supporting Control APO12.05 (Managed Business Process Controls Monitoring and Reporting), and enhancing risk management, aligning with Control DSS02.03 (Incident and Service Request Data).

ISA Standards: The International Society of Automation has formulated standards such as ISA-95 (Enterprise-Control System Integration) and ISA-99 (Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security). In industrial contexts, network topology is pivotal for securing process control systems. Notably, ISA-99 includes standards such as ISA-99-02-01 (Security for Industrial Automation and Control Systems: Establishing an Industrial Automation and Control System Security Program) and ISA-99-02-02 (Security for Industrial Automation and Control Systems: Technical Security Requirements for Industrial Automation and Control Systems), which emphasize the critical role of network topology in ensuring the security of these systems.

ISO/IEC 27001:2017: The ISO 27001 standard concerns information security management systems (ISMS). Network topology is pivotal in ISO 27001, particularly in Control A.12.1.1 (Control Objective: Control of Network Perimeter), which mandates assessing and managing network security risks. Additionally, Control A.12.1.2 (Control Objective: Management of Security in Networks) underscores the importance of secure network management, reinforcing the relevance of network topology.

NIST SP 800-53 Rev.5: This exhaustive catalog of security and privacy controls for federal information systems and organizations encompasses controls deeply rooted in network-centricity. Specifically, NIST SP 800-53 Rev.5 includes control families such as “Access Control” (AC) and “Audit and Accountability” (AU), which directly involve knowledge of network topology. Control AC-2 (Account Management) and Control AU-4 (Audit Storage Capacity) emphasize the importance of network configuration and monitoring. Additionally, Control AC-17 (Remote Access) addresses secure network access, highlighting the indispensable role of network topology knowledge. These controls harmonize seamlessly with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, further underlining the significance of network topology in government and private-sector cybersecurity initiatives.

Network Topology Optimization for Data Security

Optimizing network topology for data security is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring, evaluation, and improvement as organizations work towards efficiency, scalability, reliability, and security. Here are some strategies for optimizing network topology for data security:

  • Network Segmentation: Network segmentation involves dividing the network into smaller subnetworks or segments based on function, location, or access level criteria. This strategy reduces the network’s attack surface by limiting the exposure of sensitive data and devices to unauthorized users or malicious actors. It also improves network performance by reducing congestion and latency.
  • Network Isolation: Network isolation involves creating separate networks for different purposes or data types. This strategy enhances the security of sensitive data by preventing interaction or communication between networks that are not authorized or necessary. It also reduces the risk of network compromise by isolating potential sources of infection or intrusion.
  • Network Encryption: Network encryption involves using cryptographic techniques to protect data in transit over the network from unauthorized access or modification. This strategy ensures the confidentiality and integrity of data by preventing eavesdropping or tampering by third parties. It also protects against man-in-the-middle attacks by verifying the identity of network endpoints.
  • Network Access Control: Network access control involves policies and mechanisms regulating who can access what on the network. This strategy enforces the principle of least privilege by granting only the minimum level of access required for each user or device to perform their tasks. It also prevents unauthorized access by requiring authentication, authorization, and accounting for network resources.
  • Network Monitoring: Network monitoring involves collecting and analyzing network activity and performance data. This strategy enables the detection and prevention of network anomalies and incidents by providing visibility into network traffic, devices, and configurations. It also supports network optimization by identifying and resolving network issues, bottlenecks, or inefficiencies.

Conclusion

Data security is a top concern for organizations in today’s digital landscape. It protects data from unauthorized access, use, modification, or disclosure. Data security requires implementing technical, administrative, and physical measures to safeguard data from internal and external threats. Network topology and network mapping can strengthen data security strategy. They provide a comprehensive view of the organization’s digital infrastructure. Network topology and mapping also can be aligned with various legal frameworks and standards that regulate data security and privacy. Organizations can develop and implement tailored security strategies that address specific vulnerabilities and risks, leveraging the information gained through network topology and mapping, guiding data security practices and meeting compliance requirements.

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Data security is a top concern for organizations in today’s digital landscape. It protects data from unauthorized access, use, modification, or disclosure, and requires implementing technical, administrative, and physical measures to safeguard data from internal and external threats. Securing data is challenging in the current environment of multiplying cyber threats against small and large organizations alike. It is a journey, with no finish line and no perfect solution guaranteeing 100% security.  

This two-part article will explore the ways in which network topology and mapping can strengthen organizations’ data security strategy. This part will discuss the ways in which network topology and mapping both intersect with various legal frameworks and standards that regulate data security and privacy. The second part will provide some strategies for optimizing network topology for data security and outline the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework industry standard for data security.

Network Topology and Mapping: The Foundation of Data Security

Organizations should seek to ensure their data’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability to secure personal and proprietary data and to comply with legal and ethical obligations. Data security involves implementing technical, administrative, and physical measures to safeguard data from internal and external threats, and network topology and mapping are the foundational elements of any robust data security strategy. In an age where the digital realm is intertwined with every facet of modern life, understanding the structure and flow of your organization’s network is a necessary first step in securing your data.

Network topology refers to the physical and logical layout of an organization’s interconnected devices and systems. It serves as the digital blueprint, defining how data travels within an organization and outlining the relationships between various network components. Network mapping takes the concept of network topology a step further. It involves creating detailed visual representations of the network’s structure, including all devices, connections, and configurations. This process provides a granular view of the organization’s digital infrastructure. Understanding network topology and mapping is useful for several reasons: It helps identify vulnerabilities, optimizes resource allocation, and expedites incident response.

  • Identifying Vulnerabilities: By comprehensively mapping out the network, potential vulnerabilities become apparent. These vulnerabilities could range from unsecured access points to outdated software or hardware.
  • Resource Allocation: Knowledge of network topology aids in efficient resource allocation. It allows organizations to determine where security measures, such as firewalls or intrusion detection systems, could be deployed most effectively. This targeted approach ensures that security investments are optimized and aligned with business priorities. However, resource allocation is not a one-time process but rather an ongoing one that requires constant monitoring and evaluation. Therefore, organizations may want to consider using network mapping tools and technologies to automate and simplify the resource allocation process.
  • Incident Response: A well-documented network topology can expedite incident response efforts in a security incident. Knowing how data flows through the network and where critical assets are located allows for swift identification and containment of threats.
  • Risk Assessment: Network mapping facilitates a thorough risk assessment. It helps identify potential weak points in the network, such as single points of failure or areas susceptible to unauthorized access. For example, in 2016, Dyn, a domain name system (DNS) provider, was hit by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that disrupted the internet access of millions of users. The attack was carried out by a botnet of compromised devices that flooded Dyn’s servers with traffic. Although it is not the only factor that influenced the outcome of the attack, a comprehensive network map may have helped Dyn assess its network resilience and redundancy. As discussed, a network map is a visual representation of the network devices, connections, and configurations, which can help identify potential vulnerabilities, bottlenecks, and dependencies. A network map can also help implement mitigation strategies, such as load balancing, traffic filtering, and backup servers, to prevent or reduce the impact of DDoS attacks.
  • Compliance Requirements: Many industries and sectors have specific regulatory requirements regarding data security and privacy. Accurate network mapping assists in demonstrating compliance by showcasing security measures in place, access controls, and data flow tracking. For example, HIPAA requires covered entities and business associates to implement reasonable and appropriate security measures to protect electronic protected health information (e-PHI) from threats and risks. Network mapping can help organizations document their compliance efforts by showing how they inventory their e-PHI assets, map their e-PHI flows, encrypt their e-PHI in transit and at rest, limit access to e-PHI, and monitor e-PHI activity.
  • Capacity Planning: For organizations experiencing growth or evolving technology needs, network mapping aids in capacity planning. It allows for predicting future infrastructure requirements, ensuring the network can scale effectively without compromising security.

Network Security Challenges and Best Practices

Maintaining a secure network topology can be challenging due to the complexity and diversity of network environments, the evolving nature of cyber threats, and the variability of legal standards. Organizations may consider adopting some of the best practices to guide the process, such as:

  • Conducting regular risk assessments to identify and prioritize network vulnerabilities and threats in recognition that network environments constantly change and evolve, exposing new risks and challenges.
  • Updating network diagrams and documentation to reflect changes in network configuration, devices, data, and legal requirements. Outdated or inaccurate network information can lead to security gaps or compliance issues.
  • Implementing industry-standard security controls, such as firewalls, antivirus software, encryption, authentication, authorization, etc., to protect network assets and data, as these controls can prevent or mitigate common cyberattacks, such as malware infections, phishing scams, ransomware attacks, etc.
  • Using network discovery tools, diagramming software, and monitoring systems to automate and simplify the network mapping process, as manual network mapping can be time consuming, error prone, and incomplete.
  • Training employees on security awareness and best practices for using network resources, given that human error or negligence can be a major source of data breaches or cyberattacks.

The Law of Data Security: The Nexus Between Network Topology and Framework Implementation

The legal framework governing data security is multifaceted, encompassing federal and state laws and industry-specific regulations. One of the central tenets of this framework is the requirement for organizations to implement security measures to safeguard sensitive data. Network topology, the physical or logical arrangement of nodes, and the connections between them in a computer network can assist in meeting this requirement and help organizations protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, modification, or disclosure. Here’s how this intersects with network topology:

Federal and state laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and several state data privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), impose specific obligations on organizations to secure sensitive data. Network topology directly influences an organization’s ability to comply with these obligations, as it affects the efficiency, scalability, and reliability of the network, as well as its security and integrity. For example:

  • HIPAA requires covered entities and business associates to implement reasonable and appropriate security measures to protect e-PHI from threats and risks. Network topology can support this requirement by helping organizations identify and control their network assets, encrypt and decrypt e-PHI, limit physical and logical access to e-PHI, and monitor network activity.
  • GLBA regulates how financial institutions collect, use, and protect consumers’ personal financial information. Network topology aids compliance with GLBA by enabling organizations to secure their network perimeter, manage access to financial data, and monitor network activity.
  • COPPA requires online services that collect personal information from children under 13 to obtain verifiable parental consent, provide notice of their data practices, and maintain reasonable security measures. Organizations can use network topology to help segregate children’s data, encrypt data in transit and at rest, and implement parental controls.
  • FCRA regulates how consumer reporting agencies collect, use, and disclose consumers’ credit information. Network topology assists organizations with compliance with FCRA by facilitating the identification and protection of credit data, detecting and responding to data breaches, and providing consumers access to their credit reports.
  • CCPA gives California residents the right to access, delete, and opt out of the sale of their personal information stored online. Using network topology, organizations can locate and segregate personal information within their network, encrypt personal information in transit and at rest, implement opt-out mechanisms, and respond to consumer requests.

Enforcement and Liability

The consequences of non-compliance with data security laws can be severe, involving fines, legal action, and damage to reputation. Here’s how network topology and framework implementation intersect with legal consequences, particularly in the context of data breach litigation:

  • Liability Assessment: In the aftermath of a data breach, assessing liability is a complex task, especially when facing data breach litigation. Network topology and mapping enable organizations to identify the root causes of a breach and allocate responsibility, inform decision-making, defend against legal action or negotiate settlements.
  • Evidence in Data Breach Litigation: Network diagrams and security framework documentation can be invaluable evidence in data breach litigation. They provide a clear and verifiable picture of an organization’s security measures and can be used to demonstrate due diligence in the face of legal proceedings related to data breaches. Judges and juries rely on such evidence to evaluate the organization’s commitment to data security.

Data security law is intricately woven into an organization’s network topology and the implementation of data security frameworks. By understanding how legal obligations influence network security practices, organizations can navigate the complex terrain of data security while safeguarding sensitive information and complying with the law.

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For many, responding to an incident feels chaotic — questions swirling, uncertainties piling up, and no clear direction. Even when prepared with a well-rehearsed incident response plan, a data security incident places a company’s response team in a precarious situation of juggling numerous variables at once. In the chaos of determining whether a breach has occurred, companies may forget to think through the most important issues. For example, restoring network access and network security is typically the response team’s primary objective, while legal obligations and strategies are often forgotten. Though business continuity is a crucial step in the process, failure to prioritize the following critical aspects in responding to a breach could have consequences later.

1. Don’t get lost, preserve the breadcrumb

When responding to a cyberattack, there may be pressure to retain business continuity by immediately restoring information system integrity and availability. For example, the business may decide to wipe or erase data on existing computers, systems, and servers and rebuild them from the ground up. As part of any preservation strategy, companies should image all devices that may have been affected by the attack. This includes affected laptops and desktop computers, which are often overlooked during this process. Failure to preserve these breadcrumbs often leaves large gaps in the investigation.

Though incident response teams may be focused on restoring systems and resources, they must also recognize that cyber incidents often lead to government investigations and consumer litigation. The evidence gathered during the breach response will help counsel and cyber experts to determine what data was compromised. If the data is properly preserved, counsel can more accurately determine what data was accessed or stolen, and whether any personal information was compromised. Without this critical evidence, uncertainty may remain, forcing a business to rely on assumptions in making decisions about the existence and scope of a breach.

2. Phone a friend (aka trusted legal advisors)

The existence of these issues should make clear the importance of including outside counsel in all serious, or potentially serious, incident responses. Counsel will help ensure evidence of the data breach is preserved, as well as determine the company’s notification requirements without interrupting the forensics or recovery team’s efforts to re-establish business operations. Critically, outside counsel can help a company prepare for impending litigation or regulatory inquiries under attorney-client privilege, substantially increasing the confidentiality of the company’s response and mitigation efforts following the breach. Moreover, counsel will assist incident response teams in determining a proper course of action that aligns with applicable state and federal legal requirements, such as a company’s remediation decisions post-breach. Indeed, companies often fail to take initial intrusions seriously, because they believe the issue is contained, when in fact the attacker is merely waiting to continue the malicious activity after the logs showing the intrusion have been automatically deleted. Because breach response counsel is well-versed in this area of law, counsel can provide advice on potential blind spots to investigate, leading to a more fulsome response that mitigates unforeseen risks.  

3. Notify your insurance carrier

 Any company in any industry can experience a data breach, particularly those handling sensitive or numerous amounts of personal information. Notification to affected individuals alone, as discussed further below, routinely costs millions of dollars if the breach is large enough. Legal fees, engaging forensics experts to investigate, potential government enforcement actions, and consumer class actions can cost even more.

Whether your company has cyber-specific insurance or not, companies should immediately put their insurance provider(s) on notice upon experiencing a data breach. There’s always a possibility that your company’s insurance policies may cover some of the costs of your breach response.  Moreover, if a company fails to timely notify their insurance carriers, those carriers may deny coverage outright. In addition, the insurance policy may require the company to use specific firms and forensics teams that are on a pre-approved list. The insurance company may also require detailed billing practices that should be considered before an incident response investigation begins.

4. Determine your legal requirements

Each state places unique data breach notification obligations on companies to notify all affected state residents of the data breach. It’s not uncommon for larger companies to notify residents in all 50 states and the several territories. Beyond standard state data breach notification statutes, the company may be subject to other regulatory frameworks. If the company is publicly traded, then the company must consider SEC rules. If the company maintains protected health information, then HIPAA’s notification requirements would apply and a likely investigation from the Department of Health and Human Services could follow. Among other agencies, state departments of insurance may require notice, as well certain licensing agencies like the New York Department of Financial Services. Additionally, companies will likely receive inquiries and demands from their partners, investors, and key personnel, among other third parties to whom the company has a contractual obligation. Thus, counsel must be prepared to fully understand all aspects of the client’s business to ensure all notification requirements are met, which generally follow a 30-to-60-day timeline after a company discovers the data breach.

5. Contact law enforcement

Companies often struggle to decide whether to engage law enforcement following a cyber incident. Though these decisions are not easy, working with law enforcement can allow a company some extra time to notify consumers and regulators, as well as show that they are concerned about their customers and all affected individuals. Often, insurance policies require the company to notify law enforcement of the incident. We encourage companies to periodically review their policies and coordinate with their counsel to ensure proper compliance with those policies.  Regardless, law enforcement — especially the Federal Bureau of Investigations — may have access to additional technical and legal resources that could be valuable. This could include advice, technical knowledge, and assistance in working with third parties. Importantly, law enforcement may have investigations ongoing against your attackers and may be able to use the knowledge you gain from the attack to pursue legal action against the criminals.

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As Cybersecurity Awareness Month comes to an end and the spooky season of Halloween is upon us, no one wants to live through a cybersecurity horror story. There are some simple precautions every business and household can participate in to help keep their data and information safe. We have outlined a few below with a downloadable PDF to share with your friends, families, and colleagues. Stay safe out there, and for more information and other updates regarding cybersecurity and privacy, subscribe to Bradley’s Online and On Point blog.

Cybersecurity Tips

  1. Use strong passwords for everything
  2. Update software on your devices
  3. Use multi-factor authentication for logins
  4. Keep learning about common cyber threats
  5. Look out for phishing attempts
Cybersecurity Tips
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On October 10, 2023, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 362 into law. The “Delete Act” is a key piece of privacy legislation designed to further protect consumer online privacy rights and place further obligations on data brokers.

The Delete Act heavily amends California’s existing data broker law and seeks to establish a one-stop shop for consumers to make a singular request that all data brokers delete their personal information. Until the Delete Act, California residents could still request deletion of their personal information under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), but they had to make individual requests to each business.

The California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) is now tasked with establishing an online deletion mechanism by January 1, 2026, to ensure consumers can safely and securely effectuate their deletion rights. All businesses meeting the definition of “data broker” would have to comply starting August 1, 2026.

We highlight the notable provisions of the Delete Act below:

Who Must Comply?

Data Brokers – The Delete Act applies to all California businesses regulated under CCPA that knowingly collect and sell to third parties the personal information of California residents with whom the consumer does not have a direct relationship. The Delete Act specifically exempts businesses that are regulated by certain federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Gramm‑Leach‑Bliley Act, and the Insurance Information and Privacy Protection Act. Like CCPA, HIPAA-regulated entities are exempt to the extent the personal information is regulated under HIPAA or another applicable health law referenced under CCPA.

All data brokers must register with the CPPA and disclose a significant amount of information, such as:

  • Whether they collect any personal information from minors, precise geolocation data, or reproductive health data.
  • The number of consumer requests submitted to the data broker, including the number of times the data broker responded to and denied each request from the previous calendar year.
  • The average time it took for the data broker to respond to consumer requests from the previous calendar year.

Service Providers and Contractors – All service providers and contractors must comply with a consumer’s deletion request. The data broker is mandated to direct all of its applicable vendors to delete the consumer’s personal information. This is similar to a business’s obligation under CCPA to forward all deletion requests to its vendors.

The Deletion Mechanism

As mentioned above, the CPPA must create a deletion “mechanism” by January 1, 2026, that allows any consumer to submit a verified consumer request, instructing every data broker to delete the personal information of the consumer in its possession. 

There are specific requirements in the creation of this mechanism, including that: (1) it must be available online, (2) there be no charge for the consumer to use, (3) there is a process to submit a deletion request, (4) it must allow for a consumer’s authorized agent to aid the consumer in submitting the request, similar to CCPA, and (5) it must give consumers the option to “selectively exclude” certain data brokers from deleting their personal information.

Data Broker Responsibilities

Aside from the registration requirements, data brokers have additional obligations under the Delete Act:

  • Compliance with deletion requests – Data brokers must comply with a deletion request within 45 days.
  • Opting-out of selling/sharing – If the data broker cannot verify a deletion request, the data broker must treat the request as a request to opt-out of selling or sharing under CCPA.
  • Continuing obligations – Every 45 days, data brokers must access the deletion mechanism and delete, or opt-out of selling or sharing, the personal information of all consumers who have previously made requests. This is a continuing obligation until the consumer says otherwise or an exemption under the law applies.
  • Audits – Beginning January 1, 2028, and every three years thereafter, data brokers must undergo an audit by an “independent third party” to determine compliance with the Delete Act. The data broker must disclose the results of the audit to the CPPA within five business days upon written request. The report must be maintained for six years. Beginning January 1, 2029, data brokers must disclose to the CPPA the last year they underwent an audit, if applicable.
  • Public disclosures – Data brokers must disclose in their consumer‑facing privacy policies  (1) the same metrics on the consumer requests received, as discussed above; (2) the specific reasons why the data broker denied consumer requests; and (3) the number of consumers requests that did not require any responses and the associated reasons for not responding (e.g., statutory exemptions).

Investigations and Penalties

The CPPA may initiate investigations and actions, as well as administer penalties and fines. Data brokers are susceptible to fines of $200 per day for failing to register with the CPPA and fines of $200 per day for each unfulfilled deletion request.

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The proliferation of AI-derived and processed data in the era of big data is occurring against a complex backdrop of legal frameworks governing ownership of and responsibilities with regard to that data. In a previous installment of this two-part series, the authors outlined challenges and opportunities presented by big data and AI-derived data. In this part, they will discuss the complex legal backdrop governing this emerging area, including potential implications for business.

Patent Law and Machine-Generated Data Ownership

While not explicitly excluding machines as potential inventors, United States patent law has traditionally operated within an anthropocentric framework. This human-centric approach to inventorship and ownership is deeply ingrained in statutory law and judicial interpretations. However, rapid advancements in AI and ML technologies are increasingly blurring the lines between human and machine capabilities in the realm of invention. This creates an environment of legal uncertainty, necessitating vigilance among stakeholders in technology and IP law for future legislative or judicial developments that may clarify or redefine inventorship in the context of machine-generated innovations.

Trade Secret Protection for Machine-Generated Works

Trade secret law provides a compelling avenue for protecting machine-generated works, largely because it does not require the identification of a human inventor. This legal protection is anchored on three foundational pillars. First, the information must not be publicly disclosed or easily ascertainable, preserving its secretive status. Second, the information must possess intrinsic economic value attributable to its confidential nature. Third, reasonable measures must be undertaken to maintain the confidentiality of the information, ensuring its continued protection under trade secret law.

Given these criteria, trade secret law provides a flexible yet robust framework for safeguarding machine-generated works, circumventing the complexities and limitations often associated with copyright and patent law. This adaptability makes trade secret law increasingly relevant in the era of AI and ML, where traditional IP boundaries are being continually redefined.

The Fair Use Doctrine

The fair use doctrine stands as a nuanced yet indispensable exception within copyright law allowing for creating and utilizing transformative derivative works without constituting copyright infringement. Its relevance is heightened today, where technological advancements in big data, ML, and digital technology fundamentally alter how we interact with information.

The legal significance of the fair use doctrine has been underscored by several landmark cases illustrating its evolving role in mediating technological innovation and IP rights. For instance, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Google v. Oracle emphasized the transformative nature of Google’s use of Java APIs in the Android operating system, constituting fair use. Similarly, the Authors Guild v. Google case highlighted the public benefit of scanning and indexing millions of books, which the court deemed qualifying for fair use.

While applying this doctrine to ML-created derived data, courts may consider several factors, such as the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used, and the effect on the market value of the original work. If the ML model transforms the data in a way that could be considered “transformative use,” it might be more likely to be deemed fair use. However, ethical considerations also come into play, particularly when ML-derived data is used in ways that could be considered harmful or discriminatory.

Courts employ a multi-faceted approach in evaluating fair use claims. They scrutinize the intent behind the derivative work (‘Purpose and Character of Use’), assess the original work’s nature (factual or creative), examine the extent of the borrowed material (‘Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used’), and evaluate the potential market impact on the original work.

It’s crucial to recognize that the fair use doctrine is not a static legal principle but a flexible and adaptable framework. It evolves in response to changing social, technological, and cultural contexts. Influenced by the norms and values of different communities and innovations in various fields, the doctrine remains relevant and applicable in a world where the modes of creation and dissemination are in constant flux.

Ethical and Societal Considerations

Beyond the legal frameworks, ethical stewardship plays a crucial role in responsible data management. Transparency, consent, and robust security measures constitute the cornerstone of responsible data management. Additionally, ethical guidelines should govern the use of data to prevent harmful or unethical applications, such as discrimination or exploitation. Public interest considerations and effective dispute resolution mechanisms should also be integrated into any comprehensive data governance framework.

Conclusion

In the rapidly evolving landscape of big data, AI, and the IoT, the issue of data ownership has become increasingly complex and multi-dimensional. This complexity is further accentuated by the intersection of various legal frameworks, including IP laws, trade secrets, and data protection regulations. As we have explored, each framework offers opportunities and challenges, necessitating a nuanced approach to data governance.

The advent of AI and ML technologies has introduced additional layers of intricacy, particularly in IP rights. As machines become increasingly capable of innovation, the anthropocentric frameworks of existing patent laws are being called into question, highlighting the need for legal evolution. Finally, the issue of data ownership is not solely a legal construct but also an ethical and societal one. The need for a multi-faceted approach to data governance is evident, balancing the rights and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved — individuals, machines, or public entities. Such an approach would incorporate elements of transparency, consent, security, compliance, and ethical considerations, thereby creating a governance framework that is both robust and adaptable.

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The emergence of big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) has fundamentally transformed our understanding and utilization of data. While the value of big data is beyond dispute, its management introduces intricate legal questions, particularly concerning data ownership, licensing, and the protection of derived data. This article, the first installment in a two-part series, outlines challenges and opportunities presented by AI-processed and IoT-generated data. The second part, to be published Thursday, October 19, will discuss the complexities of the legal frameworks that govern data ownership.

Defining Big Data and Its Legal Implications

Big data serves as a comprehensive term for large, dynamically evolving collections of electronic data that often exceed the capabilities of traditional data management systems. This data is not merely voluminous but also possesses two key attributes with significant legal ramifications. First, big data is a valuable asset that can be leveraged for a multitude of applications, ranging from decoding consumer preferences to forecasting macroeconomic trends and identifying public health patterns. Second, the richness of big data often means it contains sensitive and confidential information, such as proprietary business intelligence and personally identifiable information (PII). As a result, the management and utilization of big data require stringent legal safeguards to ensure both the security and ethical handling of this information.

Legal Frameworks Governing Data Ownership

Navigating the intricate landscape of data ownership necessitates a multi-dimensional understanding that encompasses legal, ethical, and technological considerations. This complexity is further heightened by diverse intellectual property (IP) laws and trade secret statutes, each of which can confer exclusive rights over specific data sets. Additionally, jurisdictional variations in data protection laws, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the United States’ California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), introduce another layer of complexity. These laws empower individuals with greater control over their personal data, granting them the right to access, correct, delete, or port their information. However, the concept of “ownership” often varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of data involved — be it personal or anonymized.

Machine-Generated Data and Ownership

The issue of data ownership extends beyond individual data to include machine-generated data, which introduces its own set of complexities. Whether it’s smart assistants generating data based on human interaction or autonomous vehicles operating independently of human input, ownership often resides with the entity that owns or operates the machine. This is typically defined by terms of service or end-user license agreements (EULAs). Moreover, IP laws, including patents and trade secrets, can also come into play, especially when the data undergoes specialized processing or analysis.

Derived Data and Algorithms

Derived and derivative algorithms refer to computational models or methods that evolve from, adapt, or draw inspiration from pre-existing algorithms. These new algorithms must introduce innovative functionalities, optimizations, or applications to be considered derived or derivative. Under U.S. copyright law, the creator of a derivative work generally holds the copyright for the new elements that did not exist in the original work. However, this does not extend to the foundational algorithm upon which the derivative algorithm is based. The ownership of the original algorithm remains with its initial creator unless explicitly transferred through legal means such as a licensing agreement.

In the field of patent law, derivative algorithms could potentially be patented if they meet the criteria of being new, non-obvious, and useful. However, the patent would only cover the novel aspects of the derivative algorithm, not the foundational algorithm from which it was derived. The original algorithm’s patent holder retains their rights, and any use of the derivative algorithm that employs the original algorithm’s patented aspects would require permission or licensing from the original patent holder.

Derived and derivative algorithms may also be subject to trade secret protection, which safeguards confidential information that provides a competitive advantage to its owner. Unlike patents, trade secrets do not require registration or public disclosure but do necessitate reasonable measures to maintain secrecy. For example, a company may employ non-disclosure agreements, encryption, or physical security measures to protect its proprietary algorithms.

AI-Processed and Derived Data

The advent of AI has ushered in a new era of data analytics, presenting both unique opportunities and challenges in the domain of IP rights. AI’s ability to generate “derived data” or “usage data” has far-reaching implications that intersect with multiple legal frameworks, including copyright, trade secrets, and potentially even patent law. This intersectionality adds a layer of complexity to the issue of data ownership, underscoring the critical need for explicit contractual clarity in licensing agreements and Data Use Agreements (DUAs).

AI-processed and derived data can manifest in various forms, each with unique characteristics. Extracted data refers to data culled from larger datasets for specific analyses. Restructured data has been reformatted or reorganized to facilitate more straightforward analysis. Augmented data is enriched with additional variables or parameters to provide a more comprehensive view. Inferred data involves the creation of new variables or insights based on the analysis of existing data. Lastly, modeled data has been transformed through ML models to predict future outcomes or trends. Importantly, these data types often contain new information or insights not present in the original dataset, thereby adding multiple layers of value and utility.

The benefits of using AI-processed and derived data can be encapsulated in three main points. First, AI algorithms can clean, sort, and enrich data, enhancing its quality. Second, the insights generated by AI can add significant value to the original data, rendering it more useful for various applications. Third, AI-processed data can catalyze new research, innovation, and product development avenues.

Conversely, the challenges in data ownership are multifaceted. First, AI-processed and derived data often involves a complex web of multiple stakeholders, including data providers, AI developers, and end users, which can complicate the determination of ownership rights. Second, the rapidly evolving landscape of AI and data science leads to a lack of clear definitions for terms like “derived data,” thereby introducing potential ambiguities in legal agreements. Third, given the involvement of multiple parties, it becomes imperative to establish clear and consistent definitions and agreements that meticulously outline the rights and responsibilities of each stakeholder.

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Unfortunately, but as predicted earlier this year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has shown no signs of pausing use of the False Claims Act (FCA) as a tool to enforce cybersecurity compliance.

On September 5, 2023, DOJ announced an FCA settlement with Verizon Business Network Services LLC based on Verizon’s failure to comply with cybersecurity requirements with respect to services provided to federal agencies. Verizon contracted with the government to provide secure internet connections but fell short of certain Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) requirements.

Compared to the approximate $9 million Aerojet settlement in 2022, Verizon’s approximately $4.1 million settlement appears to provide helpful suggestions on how to reduce liabilities or mitigate damages. For example, Verizon cooperated and self-disclosed its shortcomings, and the government emphasized the company’s level of cooperation and self-disclosure in their  press release.

Even as cybersecurity requirements become more complex, tried and true compliance strategies remain key to mitigating damages. Companies should encourage a culture of self-reporting and agency.

Establish and Advertise Self-Reporting Hotline Programs

A self-reporting hotline is often a key component of an effective corporate compliance and ethics program. In companies with an internal hotline, studies have found that tips account for over half of all fraud detection. A best practice is to consider making the hotline anonymous as anonymity often generates more calls. Importantly, make sure employees know that the hotline is the appropriate place to report any cybersecurity concerns. Although it might sound ridiculous to lawyers and compliance professionals, employees may not realize cybersecurity issues should be reported on the hotline. Make sure employees know about the hotline. Emphasize it at meetings, in newsletters, on intranet sites, and anywhere else.

Promote a Sense of Agency Throughout the Organization

Employees tend to report concerns only when they feel a sense of agency, or otherwise feel that their reported concerns are being addressed. This, of course, starts with the tone at the top. Make sure all individuals — from the top down — feel like their cybersecurity concerns are being heard and addressed, as appropriate. Consider ways to show that cybersecurity complaints are taken seriously — perhaps by consistently addressing cybersecurity concerns at staff meetings or otherwise publicizing the work done to ameliorate employees’ concerns.

To avoid potential FCA liability, companies need to be absolutely aware of any cybersecurity requirements in government contracts, including how compliance is certified, and how to monitor and report any cybersecurity incidents. When cybersecurity concerns are reported, no matter whether corroborated or otherwise, companies must follow-up on the complaint and with the complainant. Companies must consider ways to “close the feedback loop,” and develop a system to follow up with complainants and to keep them informed about what the company has done about their concerns. Companies must take the investigation seriously and involve experienced cyber and investigations counsel sooner rather than later. Counsel can help determine if a written self-disclosure to a government agency is necessary, help craft the strategy, and guide an investigation that may ultimately reduce liabilities or mitigate damages.

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This summer, a proposed amendment to the Controlled Substances Act known as the Cooper Davis Act (the “act”) is making its way through congressional approvals and causing growing dissension between and among parents, consumer safety advocates, and anti-drug coalitions on one hand, and the DEA, privacy experts, and constitutional scholars on the other.

As currently written, the act will require certain social media, email and other electronic platforms and remote computing companies (the “services providers”) to report suspected violations of the Controlled Substances Act to the United States attorney general.

The act is named for Cooper Davis, a Kansas teen who died after ingesting half of a counterfeit prescription pain pill that he had allegedly purchased through SnapChat. Subsequent testing revealed that the pill contained a lethal dose of fentanyl. The act, introduced with bipartisan support, proposes to bolster the federal government’s ability to detect and prosecute illegal internet drug trafficking by holding social media, email and other internet companies accountable for the activity conducted on their platforms.

The act’s main function is to impose a reporting obligation on the electronic service providers with respect to activity occurring on their platforms, if and to the extent they have knowledge of the activity. The act applies to any service that provides users with the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications, and/or computer storage or processing services (18 USC § 2258E). These definitions seem to sweep every internet-based company into the act’s purview. However, the impact of the act hinges not on who the act captures, but rather, what duty these companies have and how this duty will be exercised.

The act, as proposed, targets “the unlawful sale or distribution of fentanyl, methamphetamine, or the unlawful sale, distribution, or manufacture of a counterfeit controlled substance” by imposing reporting requirements on service providers.  A service provider must report unlawful sales when: (1) it obtains actual knowledge of any facts or circumstances of an unlawful sale as defined above; or (2) if a user of the service provider alleges an unlawful sale and the service provider, upon review, has reasonable belief the alleged facts or circumstances that constitute an unlawful sale exist. A service provider also may report unlawful circumstances: (1) after obtaining actual knowledge of any facts or circumstances that indicate that an unlawful activity may be imminent; or (2) if the service provider reasonably believes that any facts or circumstances of unlawful activity exist.

A service provider’s actual knowledge of the unlawful activities allows (and in some situations requires) the service provider to report information about the individual using the internet platform for unlawful purposes, including the individual’s geographic location, information relating to how and when the unlawful activity was discovered by the service provider, data relating to the violation, and the complete communication containing the intent to commit a violation of the act. There are penalties for a service provider’s failure to report: if a service provider that knowingly and willfully fails to make a report required, it will be fined no more than $190,000in the case of an initial knowing and willful failure to make a report, and no more than $380,000in the case of any second or subsequent knowing and willful failure to make a report.

In this way, the act captures the companies and conduct necessary to provide greater protection to consumers, including minors like Cooper Davis. However, by creating the duty to report, the act requires service providers to serve as a surveillance agent for the U.S. Department of Justice. Without further clarification or rulemaking, service providers will be left to determine, on their own and without a consistent industry standard, what constitutes actual knowledge of unlawful activity, and in what instance (if ever) knowledge will be imputed to a service provider based on evidence contained on their platform. The structure of the act was heavily debated in the Full Committee Executive Business Meeting that took place on July 13, 2023, and for good reason. At its worst, the act was described as “deputizing” tech companies to serve as law enforcement, without warrants or other procedures in place to protect citizens or prevent unnecessary disclosure of a user’s private information. Alternatively, consumer safety advocates may argue that the act does not go far enough, and is unnecessarily favorable to service providers at almost every turn. For example, the trigger for a mandatory report is actual knowledge on the part of the service provider, not strict liability or the mere occurrence of unlawful activity on the platform.

Further, the monetary amount of any penalty for failing to report is minimal compared to the earnings reported by many of the tech industry giants who fall within the definition of a Service provider.

From a compliance perspective, companies that fall within the definition of electronic communication service providers and remote computing services should be aware that the Cooper Davis Act could become law and impose additional reporting requirements. Practically, however, companies maintain substantial autonomy in crafting the policies to both identify and provide adequate reports of unlawful activity under the act. Like other amendments to the Controlled Substances Act, the language as written is unpredictable, and enforcement action is often the most practical way to discern the contours of the amendment. So, the impact of the act, and how companies can prepare for it, remains to be understood. The act’s good intentions but unsteady enforcement mechanisms are reminiscent of the Ryan Haight Act, another act promulgated to keep teens safe from controlled substances on the internet. The Ryan Haight Act also remains to be applied in a predictable manner following the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The act is a significant step toward protecting the public from controlled substance distribution via the internet. However, much is left to be worked out regarding the means, scope, and constitutionality of law enforcement’s surveillance of online activity in our increasingly digital world.

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Machine learning (ML) models are a cornerstone of modern technology, allowing models to learn from and make predictions based on vast amounts of data. These models have become integral to various industries in an era of rapid technological innovation, driving unprecedented advancements in automation, decision-making, and predictive analysis. The reliance on large amounts of data, however, raises significant concerns about privacy and data security. While the benefits of ML are manifold, they are not without accompanying challenges, particularly in relation to privacy risks. The intersection of ML with privacy laws and ethical considerations forms a complex legal landscape ripe for exploration and scrutiny. This article will explore privacy risks associated with ML, privacy in the context of California’s privacy legislation, and countermeasures to these risks.

Privacy Attacks on ML Models

There are several distinct types of attacks on ML models, four of which target the privacy of protected information.

  1. Model Inversion Attacks constitute a sophisticated privacy intrusion where an attacker endeavors to reconstruct original input data by reverse-engineering a model’s output. A practical illustration might include an online service recommending films based on previous viewing habits. Through this method, an attacker could deduce an individual’s past movie choices, uncovering private information such as race, religion, nationality, and gender. This type of information can be used to perpetuate social engineering schemes (or the use of known information to build (sham) trust and ultimately extract sensitive data from an individual). In other contexts, such an attack on more sensitive targets can lead to substantial privacy breaches, exposing information such as medical records, financial details, or personal preferences. This exposure underscores the importance of robust safeguards and understanding the underlying ML mechanisms.
  2. Membership Inference Attacks involve attackers discerning whether an individual’s personal information was utilized in training a specific algorithm, such as a recommendation system or health diagnostic tool. An analogy might be drawn to an online shopping platform, where an attacker infers that a person was part of a customer group based on recommended products, thereby learning about shopping habits or even more intimate details. These types of attacks harbor significant privacy risks, extending across various domains like healthcare, finance, and social networks. The accessibility of Membership Inference Attacks, often not requiring intricate knowledge of the target model’s architecture or original training data, amplifies their threat. This reach reinforces the necessity for interdisciplinary collaboration and strategic legal planning to mitigate these risks.
  3. Reconstruction Attacks aim to retrieve the original training data by exploiting the model’s parameters. Imagine a machine learning model as a complex, adjustable machine that takes in data (like measurements, images, or text) and produces predictions or decisions. The parameters are the adjustable parts of this machine that are fine-tuned to make it work accurately. During training, the machine learning model adjusts these parameters so that it gets better at making predictions based on the data it is trained on. These parameters hold specific information about the data and the relationships within the data. A Reconstruction Attack exploits these parameters by analyzing them to work backward and figure out the original training data. Essentially, the attacker studies the settings of the machine (parameters) and uses them to reverse-engineer the data that was used to set those parameters in the first place.
    For instance, in healthcare, ML models are trained on sensitive patient data, including medical histories and diagnoses. These models fine-tune internal settings or parameters, creating a condensed data representation. A Reconstruction Attack occurs when an attacker gains unauthorized access to these parameters and reverse-engineers them to deduce the original training data. If successful, this could expose highly sensitive information, such as confidential medical conditions.
  4. Attribute Inference Attacks constitute attempts to guess or deduce specific private attributes, such as age, income, or health conditions, by analyzing related information. Consider, for example, a fitness application that monitors exercise and diet. An attacker employing this method might infer private health information by analyzing this data. Such attacks have the potential to unearth personal details that many would prefer to remain confidential. The ramifications extend beyond privacy, with potential consequences including discrimination or bias. The potential impact on individual rights and the associated legal complexities emphasizes the need for comprehensive legal frameworks and technological safeguards.

ML Privacy under California Privacy Laws

Organizations hit by attacks targeting ML models, like the ones described, could find themselves directly violating California laws concerning consumer data privacy. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) enshrines the right of consumers to request and obtain detailed information regarding the personal data collected and processed by a business entity. This fundamental right, however, is not without potential vulnerabilities. Particularly, Model Inversion Attacks, which reverse-engineer personal data, pose a tangible risk. By enabling unauthorized access to such information, these attacks may impede or compromise the exercise of this essential right. The CCPA further affords consumers the right to request the deletion of personal information, mandating businesses to comply with such requests. Membership Inference Attacks can reveal the inclusion of specific data within training sets, potentially undermining this right. The exposure of previously deleted data could conflict with the statutory obligations under the CCPA. To safeguard consumers’ personal information, the CCPA also obligates businesses to implement reasonable security measures. Successful attacks on ML models, such as those previously described, might be construed as a failure to fulfill this obligation. Such breaches could precipitate non-compliance, attracting potential legal liabilities.

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) amends the CCPA and introduces rigorous protections for Sensitive Personal Information (SPI). This category encompasses specific personal attributes, including, but not limited to, financial data, health information, and precise geolocation. Attribute Inference Attacks, through the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive attributes, may constitute a direct contravention of these provisions, signifying a significant legal breach. Focusing on transparency, the CPRA sheds light on automated decision-making processes, insisting on clarity and openness. Unauthorized inferences stemming from various attacks could undermine this transparency, thereby impacting consumers’ legal rights to comprehend the underlying logic and implications of decisions that bear upon them. Emphasizing responsible data stewardship, the CPRA enforces data minimization and purpose limitation principles. Attacks that reveal or infer personal information can transgress these principles, manifesting potential excesses in data collection and utilization beyond the clearly stated purposes by exposing data that is not relevant for the intended purposes of the models. For example, an attacker could use a model inversion attack to reconstruct the face image of a user from their name, which is not needed for the facial recognition model to function. Moreover, an attacker could use an attribute inference attack to disclose the political orientation or sexual preference of a user from their movie ratings, which is not stated or agreed by the user when using the movie recommendation model.

Mitigating ML Privacy Risk

Considering California privacy laws, as well as other state privacy laws, legal departments within organizations must develop comprehensive and adaptable strategies. These must encompass clear and enforceable agreements with third-party vendors, establish internal policies reflecting state law mandates, and conduct data protection impact assessments and actionable incident response plans to mitigate potential breaches. Continuous monitoring of evolving legal landscapes at the state and federal level ensures alignment with existing obligations and prepares organizations for future legal developments.

The criticality of technological defenses cannot be overstated. Implementing safeguards such as advanced encryption, stringent access controls, and other measures forms a robust shield against privacy attacks and legal liabilities. More broadly, the intricacies of complying with the CCPA and CPRA require an in-depth understanding of technological functionalities and legal stipulations. A cohesive collaboration among legal and technical experts and other stakeholders, such as business leaders, data scientists, privacy officers, and consumers, is essential to marry legal wisdom to technological and practical acumen. Interdisciplinary dialogue ensures that legal professionals comprehend the technological foundations and practical use case of ML while technologists grasp the legal parameters and ethical considerations embedded in the CCPA and CPRA.

Staying ahead of technological advancements and legal amendments requires constant vigilance. The CPRA’s emphasis on transparency and consumer rights underscores the importance of effective collaboration, adherence to industry best practices, regular risk assessments, and transparent engagement with regulators and stakeholders, and other principles, i.e., accountability, fairness, accuracy, and security that govern artificial intelligence. Organizations should adopt privacy-by-design and privacy-by-default approaches that embed privacy protections into the design and operation of ML models.

The Future of ML Privacy Risks

The intersection of technology and law, as encapsulated by privacy attacks on ML models, presents a vibrant and complex challenge. Navigating this terrain in the era of the CCPA and CPRA demands an integrated, meticulous approach, weaving together legal strategies, technological safeguards, and cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Organizations stand at the forefront of this evolving landscape, bearing the responsibility to safeguard individual privacy and uphold legal integrity. The path forward becomes navigable and principled by fostering a culture that embraces compliance, vigilance, and innovation and by aligning with the specific requirements of the CCPA and CPRA. The challenges are numerous and the stakes significant, yet with prudent judgment, persistent effort, and a steadfast dedication to moral values, triumph is not merely attainable, it becomes a collective duty and a communal achievement.

For more information and other updates and alerts regarding privacy law developments, subscribe to Bradley’s privacy blog Online and On Point.