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For the past 6 years, our blog has been primarily dedicated to providing professional liability insurance coverage news and analysis for the internet, tech and media industries.  We hope you enjoy reading our blog entries and we welcome your story ideas.  Our blog is updated with new entries about twice a month so please bookmark our site or just use our RSS feed.

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New Social Media Exposures

According to CNet, the Telegraph reports that Facebook is linked to a rise in Syphilis.  Apparently, a director of public health is asserting that a rise in the number of cases of the disease in the region correlates to an increased number of Facebook users in the same area. While we have seen social marketing, such as Twitter, described as cause of liability in the areas of defamation or perhaps trademark infringement, this level of exposure seems new.  

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Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 at 11:17AM by Registered CommenterMarcia Sutton in | CommentsPost a Comment

Imprisonment Insurance: It’s Holistic

The recent conviction of Google execs over a video posted online makes us think there might be a gap in current insurance products that some enterprising insurers on the cutting edge could fill.

Here’s what happened to Google.  Three Google executives were convicted in Italy of criminal invasion of privacy in connection with a video clip posted on Google Video.  The clip reportedly showed students taunting a teenager who had autism.  Italian prosecutors said the clip remained accessible for two months, despite the fact some viewers had posted comments asking for it to be taken down.  They felt Google was criminally responsible for that.  Google argued that it had nothing to do with the posting and that it took the video down immediately after being notified and then cooperated with Italian authorities in their investigation of the incident.

So, why not offer imprisonment insurance?  If an insured is convicted based on a privacy allegation, the insurer could provide someone to serve any prison term on an insured’s behalf.  The coverage agreement could be rewritten to expand beyond “pay on behalf of” to “serve on behalf of.”  The insurance company would just need to hire someone willing to go to jail for the good of the insurer.  Any volunteers?

Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 03:03PM by Registered CommenterT.R. Franklin in | CommentsPost a Comment

FTC Sends Warning Letters over Private Data Exposed on P2P File Sharing Networks 

The FTC has sent letters to about 100 organizations warning them that the private data of their customers and/or employees is available on peer-to-peer file sharing networks.  The letters recommend that the organizations consider notifying the individuals whose private data is exposed as well as point out that state and federal laws or guidelines may be applicable.  According to the FTC press release, receiving a letter does not necessarily indicate that an organization has violated a law enforced by the FTC but in one of the sample letters posted online, the commission does reserve its rights.

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Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 01:56PM by Registered CommenterMarcia Sutton in | CommentsPost a Comment

Update: Worst Courtrooms, Data Breach Costs, Cloud Computing

It’s been a few years since we have reviewed the Judicial Hellholes report from the American Tort Reform Foundation.  The 2009/2010 report ranks the top three as follows:  #1 South Florida, #2 West Virginia and #3 Cook County, IL.  In the 2008 report, the top three were the same, although South Florida was #2 and West Virginia was #1.  For the full report, visit the American Tort Reform website.

Also, released earlier this year was the 2009 study of data breach costs to U.S. companies by Ponemon Institute.  As reported by Network World, the average per-record cost was $204 in 2009.  This amount is $2 more than what Ponemon reported in the previous year’s study.  Ponemon’s 2005 study cited the average per-record cost at $138.  So, the growth in this cost appears to have slowed.  See our previous entries on data breach costs for more information.

We’ve briefly discussed Cloud Computing before but a recent article from ZDNet UK offers an interesting description of risk management issues.  The author suggests an “outside-in” approach where companies focus security measures on keeping dangerous outsiders from breaking in to their systems needs to be revamped to also consider the “inside-out” point of view. Read the article.

Posted on Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 04:38PM by Registered CommenterMarcia Sutton in , | CommentsPost a Comment

Scent Technology

PC World is reporting on some interesting new gadget patents including one for seeing 3D without the special eyewear as well as one for utilizing avatars as means for heckling a television or movie actor you don’t enjoy, complete with the virtual rotten tomatoes.  But it’s the patent for scent technology that caught our eye as we haven’t seen anything reminiscent of Smell-O-Vision for a while.  Is a scent used in movies or advertising considered a type of content?  Could be.  Will a professional liability policy cover it?  Possibly.  Check to see if scent is included in the definition of content or matter. If scent is not specifically mentioned in the definition then a definition that allows the content to be in any nature or form might be broad enough to encompass scent.  Or not. Good idea to get it clarified if the insured is utilizing scent technology.

Posted on Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 10:20AM by Registered CommenterMarcia Sutton in , | CommentsPost a Comment

Security Threat Predictions for 2010

As the new year begins, it’s typically time for lists, including lists of top security threats.  BitDefender suggests netbooks, mobile operating systems and social networks are among the vulnerable.  ZDNet proposes Mac and iPhones are facing increased vulnerability because of their growing popularity.  McAfee includes cybercriminal activity targeted to Adobe Reader and Flash in its list of security threats.  For an overview of security threats, Network World has a review of many of the 2010 predictions from multiple sources.  Overall, social networking appears to be one of the most frequently mentioned security exposures for 2010.  But social networking isn’t necessarily a new threat as it was also listed as one of the top security exposures in 2008

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Posted on Monday, January 4, 2010 at 03:58PM by Registered CommenterMarcia Sutton in | CommentsPost a Comment

Texting and Employee Privacy

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal on a case involving text messaging privacy.  Whether or not employees have a right to privacy when texting on employer-owned devices is an issue of keen interest to many employers and employees alike.  But this case may not have a sweeping application as the matter pertains to a city and its employee rather than the private sector.  Simply, the case involves privacy under the fourth amendment protections, which differ between private and government employees.  In his Technology and Marketing Law blog, Eric Goldman offers a good round-up of what the law firms are saying about the case as well as some insights as to why the Supreme Court has agreed to consider the case.  While speculations may persist until the Supreme Court renders its decision, the consensus on operating procedures suggests employers should maintain an electronic communications policy (and follow it) and  employees should avoid private communications on company time or equipment.

Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 12:30PM by Registered CommenterMarcia Sutton in , | CommentsPost a Comment