FTC lacks data breach authority, says accused medical lab
An Atlanta medical lab fires back at an FTC complaint that it lacked a reasonable cybersecurity program
IDG News Service - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has no jurisdiction or legal authority to bring a data breach complaint against an Atlanta medical laboratory, the lab said in a response to FTC charges.
The FTC, in an administrative complaint in August against a small cancer-screening lab LabMD, acted in a way that was "arbitrary, capricious" and an abuse of discretion, lawyers for the lab wrote in a response to the FTC complaint Thursday. The agency has acted "contrary to constitutional right" and "in excess of statutory jurisdiction," LabMD's lawyers said.
LabMD, just the second U.S. company to challenge an FTC data breach complaint, is fighting back for the future of the company, the company's CEO, Mike Daugherty, has said. Daugherty, in a discussion a week ago, accused the agency of making up cybersecurity rules as it moves forward.
The FTC "has not published any rules, regulations or other guidelines clarifying and providing any notice, let alone constitutionally adequate notice, of what data-security practices" the agency believes it has authority to enforce, LabMD's lawyers wrote in the response.
LabMD has challenged the FTC's assertion that it has the authority to lodge complaints against companies that have data breaches after not taking, in the agency's eyes, appropriate cybersecurity measures. The challenges to FTC complaints by LabMD and Wyndham Worldwide could potentially end the agency's efforts to seek settlements in data breach cases, after 11 years of complaints and nearly 50 settlements.
Many of the settlements required the companies to implement new cybersecurity programs and submit to independent security audits every other year over 20 years. Among the companies that have settled FTC cybersecurity complaints are Twitter, Microsoft, data broker ChoicePoint, and retailers BJ's Wholesale Club and TJX.
A hearing on the FTC complaint against LabMD is scheduled before an administrative law judge next April. An FTC spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comments on LabMD's filing.
The challenge is an important one, LabMD's lawyers argued. Cause of Action, a government watchdog defending the company, "is taking up this fight because the FTC's attempt to exert authority that it does not have on a business that engaged in no wrongdoing is an abuse of agency authority that threatens American jobs," Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein said in a statement.
The FTC accuses LabMD of having two significant data breaches, one in 2007-08 and one in 2012. In 2008, peer-to-peer security vendor Tiversa contacted the company, saying it had found a LabMD customer spreadsheet on a P-to-P network. The file contained personal information for more than 9,000 consumers, including names, Social Security numbers and medical treatment codes.
- Step Out of the Bull's-Eye Learn about the evolution of targeted attacks, the latest in security intelligence, and strategic steps to keep your business safe.
- Using Cyber Insurance and Cybercrime Data to Limit Your Business Risk This paper examines the challenges of understanding cyber risks, the importance of having the right cyber risk intelligence, and how to use this...
- 5 Tips to Secure Small Business Backdoors in the Enterprise Supply Chain This paper examines the insecurity of the small businesses in the supply chain and offers tips to close those backdoors into the enterprise.
- Comprehensive Advanced Threat Defense The hot topic in the information security industry these days is "Advanced Threat Defense" (ATD). This paper describes a comprehensive, network-based approach to...
- Live Webcast Security Vulnerabilities Associated With Having Local Administrator Privileges Viewfinity will demonstrate how removing admin rights and granularly managing privileges at the application level reduces the attack surface.
- Security Vulnerabilities Associated With Having Local Administrator Privileges Viewfinity will demonstrate how removing admin rights and granularly managing privileges at the application level reduces the attack surface.
- Keep Servers Up and Running and Attackers in the Dark An SSL/TLS handshake requires at least 10 times more processing power on a server than on the client. SSL renegotiation attacks can readily... All Cybercrime and Hacking White Papers | Webcasts