Recent Executive Orders and proposed Regulations are creating significant new obligations for many federal government employers in 2016. MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE:  Executive Order 13658. Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, the minimum wage for work performed under covered federal contracts will increase to $10.15. Employees working under covered federal contracts who receive tips as part of their compensation must be paid a minimum cash wage of $5.85 an hour starting Jan. 1. DOL is authorized to adjust the wage rate annually. The wage requirement applies to new and replacement contracts arising out of solicitations issued on or after Jan. 1, 2015, that are (1) construction contracts covered by the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA); (2) service contracts covered by the Service Contract Act (SCA); (3) concessions contracts; or (4) contracts in connection with federal property or lands related to offering services for federal employees, their dependents, or the public. The requirement flows down to…       Read More

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [“FMCSA”] issued on December 21,  2015, a drug testing program change, effective January 1, 2016, reducing the requirement for random testing from 50 percent to 25 percent of the average number of driver positions for drivers of commercial motor vehicles [CMVs] requiring commercial driver’s license [CDL]. FMCSA Management Information System data reported by carriers showed that the positive test result rate for agency-regulated controlled substances testing for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 fell below a 1.0 percent threshold, allowing the FMCSA to reduce the testing percentage to 25 percent. The 10% percentage rate for random alcohol tests required by FMCSA will remain the same. In accordance with 49 CFR 382.305(e)(2) if, in the future, the reported positive rate for any calendar year is equal to or greater than 1.0 percent, the FMCSA Administrator will increase the minimum annual percentage rate for random controlled substances…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Hyatt Hotels Reports Data Breach, Blames PoS Malware Softpedia News Hyatt Hotels have announced a data breach affecting its customers’ financial data, which at a later investigation proved to originate from a malware … Cyberattack Surge: 100M medical records hacked in 2015, officials say Fox News This year, the cyber threat evolved with the emergence of hack attacks that investigators say can be traced back to China. “We know of multiple threat … US: Online data of school students being tracked by Google warn privacy advocates International Business Times UK Schoolchildren these days are perhaps more familiar with and adept at using Google as compared to their parents. Given that most public schools in … Database of 191 million US voters exposed on Internet: researcher Reuters An independent computer security researcher uncovered a database of information on 191 … Privacy advocates said Vickery’s findings were…       Read More

Compiled by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Hello Kitty data leak exposes 3.3 million user accounts, security researcher says Fox News Sanrio, the company behind the popular Hello Kitty brand, has suffered a data leak, according to a security specialist. Researcher Chris Vickery told … Data protection service LifeLock settles with FTC for $100m SlashGear As we reported this past summer, LifeLock got itself into hot water with the FTC over its alleged failure to protect its customer data. That wasn’t the first … MaineGeneral Health suffers cyber-attack JD Supra (press release) MaineGeneral Health (MaineGeneral), located in Augusta, Maine notified employees and patients last week that personal information and protected … Iranian Cyber Hackers Infiltrate US Power Grids in Attempt to Cause Blackouts Breaking Isreal News Iranian hackers were successful in opening network pathways among US power grids, making the entire country susceptible to a cyber attack, the … Why Education is…       Read More

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. Last week I posted a short blog to let everyone know that a consolidated text of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) was released by the European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union.  Now it is time to give you a more in depth look at the GDPR. Although the GDPR is not a done deal, it is pretty close.  All that is left is to translate it into the various EU languages, and finalize the official publication.  It is expected that this should occur in the first quarter of 2016.  The GDPR would then become effective in 2018.  This would give everyone a two (2) year grace period to get ready, and get in compliance. It should be noted that the GDPR is a Regulation, not a Directive like the current Data Protection Directive.  The Regulation seeks to harmonize the…       Read More

Written by: Richard Sheinis,Esq. The European Parliament and Council have issued a consolidated text of the new General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).  I will be reviewing the text and will provide a complete analysis in the coming days, but this article from the IAPP is a good initial look, https://iapp.org/news/a/gdpr-we-have-agreement/. Stay tuned for more analysis, and how the GDPR can affect your business.

Richard Sheinis, Esq. FTC, Wyndham Hotels settle hacking case ZDNet The settlement comes three months after a U.S. appellate court ruled the FTC can sue Wyndham over computer system hacks in 2008 and 2009. 13M customers of a Mac scareware app exposed to potential data breach BGR Apparently, the company behind it can’t protect personal data belonging to its customers. Records for more than 13 million MacKeeper users have … Congressman wants federal probe of Georgia data breach Atlanta Journal Constitution … appeared to be violations of federal privacy laws in how the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office handled the data accidentally disclosed in the breach. Fired state employee responds in Georgia data breach Atlanta Journal Constitution A data disc containing sensitive voter information including more than 6 million Social Security numbers mailed out by the Georgia Secretary of State’s … Man held in UK in VTech hacking probe BBC…       Read More

Written by: Richard Sheinis, Esq. In a precursor of things to come, earlier this month the CERT Division of the Software Engineering institute based at Carnegie Melon University has warned that the Epiphany Cardio Server is vulnerable to hacking. The Cardio Server gathers medical data and diagnostic test results from different medical devices, and makes the data available to care providers through a web browser. The vulnerabilities allow an attacker to potentially log into the system as an administrator to access and modify patient data. Epiphany healthcare has issued patches for Cardio Server versions 3.3, 4.0 and 4.1. Users should apply the patches ASAP, and should consider updating to the latest version of Cardio Server. Unfortunately, we can expect more reports of medical devices being vulnerable, or being hacked. These devices must be maintained and patched like any internet connected device, server or software. If you are a provider using…       Read More

Written by: Don Benson, Esq. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [“FMCSA”] issued on December 21,  2015, a drug testing program change, effective January 1, 2016, reducing the requirement for random testing from 50 percent to 25 percent of the average number of driver positions for drivers of commercial motor vehicles [CMVs] requiring commercial driver’s license [CDL]. FMCSA Management Information System data reported by carriers showed that the positive test result rate for agency-regulated controlled substances testing for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 fell below a 1.0 percent threshold, allowing the FMCSA to reduce the testing percentage to 25 percent. The 10% percentage rate for random alcohol tests required by FMCSA will remain the same. In accordance with 49 CFR 382.305(e)(2) if, in the future, the reported positive rate for any calendar year is equal to or greater than 1.0 percent, the FMCSA Administrator will increase the minimum annual percentage…       Read More

Compiled by: Ashik Jahan, Esq. Understanding the legal challenges to President Obama’s executive action for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/understanding-legal-challenges-executive-action President Obama won a procedural victory for his executive action on DAPA as the Supreme Court rejected an extension request from Texas and other states, who have challenged the President’s actions.  This means that if the Supreme Court decides to take the case, a decision would probably come by late June 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-denies-states-requests-for-filing-extension-in-immigration-suit/2015/12/01/34f5e116-987c-11e5-b499-76cbec161973_story.html Due to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the Obama administration has announced some changes to the visa waiver program, which allows travelers from some 38 countries including France, Belgium and other European countries, to come to the U.S. without a visa. http://www.npr.org/2015/11/30/457889016/post-paris-obama-administration-changes-visa-waiver-program Nearly 35,000 comments were received on the U.S. plan to extend Optional Practical Training program for STEM students (Science, Technology,…       Read More