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The V&E Report
Insights in Government Enforcement and Investigations

Governments Are Feeding on Facebook Data: Report Shows Recent Rise in Official Requests for User Information

For the period between January and June 2019, Facebook received 128,617 requests for user data from various government entities—16% above the 110,634 requests in the period between July and December 2018.1 This uptick was described in Facebook’s latest transparency report (the “Report”), which provides information about government data requests.2

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Data Without Borders: The U.S. and UK Sign CLOUD Act Agreement Making it Easier to Gather Electronic Evidence

The United States and the United Kingdom recently entered the first ever CLOUD Act Agreement, which aims to streamline the process by which either government can collect electronic evidence located in the other country. Under the agreement, designated authorities from the U.S. and UK will be able to issue orders for the collection of electronic data directly to covered providers in the other country.

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Amazon Pitches Facial “Rekognition” Law to Feds

On Wednesday, September 25, at a surprise appearance after a product event in Seattle, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that the company’s public policy team is drafting proposed regulations for facial recognition technology, with plans to share them with the federal government. The move comes several months after Amazon publicly proposed ethical guidelines around the use of facial recognition technology, in an effort to nudge national legislative efforts on the topic.

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Cisco’s $8.6 Million False Claims Act Settlement Signals Viability of Cybersecurity Claims Under the False Claims Act

On July 31, 2019, Cisco Systems, Inc. (“Cisco”) agreed to pay $8.6 million to settle a False Claims Act (“FCA”) whistleblower allegation that it sold video surveillance equipment to government agencies knowing the equipment was susceptible to cyber-attack.1 The FCA, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733, provides liability for any person who knowingly submits false claims to the government.

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Not So Cryptic: AG Barr Adamant That “Warrant-Proof Encryption” Poses Threat to Public Safety

In a keynote address at the International Conference on Cyber Security on Tuesday, July 23, Attorney General Barr clearly articulated the DOJ’s position that “‘warrant-proof’ encryption poses a grave threat to public safety by extinguishing the ability of law enforcement to obtain evidence essential to detecting and investigating crimes.”1 Barr outlined the ways in which criminals — including drug traffickers, human traffickers, terrorists, and gangs — use encrypted messaging technology to further criminal enterprises, and he criticized technology companies for failing to work with law enforcement “to preserve lawful access” to suspects’ encrypted devices and messages, even when police have a valid search warrant.2

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Truth or Cyber-Consequences: Government Contractor Suspended After Suffering Cyberattack and Data Breach

Government contractors that expose government information to cyberattacks may face suspension from doing business with the Federal Government. Perceptics, LLC suffered a highly publicized cyberattack that was revealed in June 2019, and the decision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) to suspend the company demonstrates the severe consequences that government contractors face if they fail to protect against cyberattacks or to comply with contractual cybersecurity obligations.

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