On May 11, 2016, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) was signed into law. The primary impact is the creation of a federal regime for protection of business and industry trade secrets from theft, misappropriation, and other misuse. While not replacing existing—and disparate—state-based trade secret legislation, the new law will dovetail with those statutes but at the same time resolve various interstate conflicts of law. Complying with the DTSA’s requirements is key to benefiting from its enhanced protections.
Although the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) commonly disciplines members who violate SEC rules and is known to impose significant fines and other sanctions on them, the expulsion of a firm from FINRA membership altogether is a drastic step that is undertaken only in egregious cases. But in July, the authority expelled two members and barred their principals or representatives from further association with any FINRA firm after investigations disclosed that the parties had willfully engaged in fraudulent trading schemes and otherwise violated SEC rules. The actions sent a clear message to other potential wrong-doers that FINRA may no longer be satisfied with only financial penalties against its members where rule violations serve to defraud investors.
“Blue Sheets” are critical trade data reports that may be requested by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to assist it in the investigation of suspected market manipulation and insider trading cases. Given their importance, the reports must be filed timely and contain accurate information. But in the last two years, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the self-regulatory agency that enforces various SEC rules, has found it necessary to assess huge fines against some of its members for alleged violations of the filing rule. Last month, it broke a record in the assessment of a multi-million dollar fine against a European-based investment bank over alleged Blue Sheet non-compliance.
When you think of online dating sites, chances are words like Cupid or Lovestruck come to mind. But FINRA? SEC? Last month, both the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission got involved when an online dating scheme turned out to be a scam which—quite romantically—defrauded several women and their families of millions of dollars for the criminal Casanova’s investment scheme. Now those agencies and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are joining forces to warn unsuspecting online lovers of the financial risks they may be exposing themselves to.
Widespread Internet usage took hold globally by 1995, and within three years, over 10 million American children had access to the Internet—either at home or in school. The presence of such a huge connected market was not lost on Internet marketers who recognized the importance of such a rapidly growing segment of online consumers.
In addition, vast amounts of personal data were being collected on these children, and commercial relationships with them were being exploited. Clearly, a child’s online privacy needed to be protected. But at what age? And to what extent? And pursuant to what rules? These concerns were addressed when Congress passed into law the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA).
Oil and gas, the mainstay energy resources of the twentieth century, have seen prices rise steadily since 1973 up until just a couple of years ago. But the recent 65 percent drop in oil prices has led various Gulf oil kingdoms to shift away from a single-commodity economy to pursue other industrial and technological revenues. Filling the void from the supply side, new oil and gas field discoveries under the eastern Mediterranean have rejuvenated the energy market as they created an oil boom for Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, and other regional oil rookies. The only problem is that for oil and gas exploration companies, neither their creditors nor their regulators see any hope for a strong short- or long-term recovery and are pumping them hard for answers.
Last month in a highly touted move, Russia issued $1.75 billion dollars’ worth of government bonds on the world financial market. This was its first return to that fund-raising mechanism in over thirteen years. But the amount raised paled in comparison to the upcoming Saudi Arabian first-ever sovereign bond offering planned for shortly after Ramadan in the beginning of July. Insiders estimate that the Saudi bond drive will be in the $10 billion to $15 billion range. And their fellow Gulf Cooperation Council colleagues have also recently raised tens of billions of dollars via sovereign bond sales. What’s going on? Whatever happened to their trillions of dollars’ worth of petro-dollars?
What’s the cost of a data breach per record accessed? A mere $150 on average. But when extrapolated out to the number of record breaches at a typical company or government agency that gets victimized, the average company loss figure soars to a staggering $4 million. That average cost, of course, won’t apply to a cyber attack at a small mom-and-pop operation nor even to most mid-sized companies. But when major retailers, credit card companies, and health-care providers are factored in, the damage per hit is indeed in the millions. Experts predict that even the average $4 million loss figure will skyrocket to $150 million per data breach by the year 2020. Now CTOs are coming under scrutiny by their directors who have begun to ask, “What are we paying for?”