Gerald J. Ferguson

Gerald Ferguson currently serves as the Intellectual Property, Technology and Media Group Coordinator for the firm’s New York office. Mr. Ferguson also serves as the national leader of the firm’s Privacy and Information Security group. He has worked with companies to create national and global privacy policies. He has extensive experience advising companies regarding compliance with state breach notification laws. Mr. Ferguson is able to advise clients regarding notification obligations quickly and efficiently using a state-by-state survey of the 47 jurisdictions with breach notification laws that is regularly updated by Baker Hostetler’s Privacy and Information Security group. As part of his proactive approach to an incident response, he works with forensic consultants to develop the substantive opinions necessary to support a determination that disclosure of a breach is not required when possible. If disclosure is required, he uses a team approach to carefully manage the process in a cost-effective and efficient manner that focuses on minimizing reputational harm.

Mr. Ferguson is Chairman of the Intellectual Property Committee of the New York State Bar Association, International Law and Practice Section.

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What You Should Be Doing Now to Prepare for Implementation of the Cybersecurity Executive Order

Co-Authored by: Theodore J. Kobus III A tempting response to the Cybersecurity Executive Order (the “Order”), announced by President Obama at his State of the Union address, is to ignore it.  It is vague in key particulars, such as which companies are part of the “critical infrastructure” and therefore subject to the Order.  The only … Continue Reading

Facebook Opens Door to Giving Your Personal Information to an Affiliated Ad Agency

Give Facebook credit for candor. Facebook does not call the policy describing what it does with your personal information a “privacy policy”, but rather a “Data Use Policy”. The nomenclature is appropriate. The Facebook Data Use Policy is not so much about protecting the privacy of the information you share on Facebook as it is … Continue Reading

Data Breach Class Action against Popular Video Game Developer Dismissed for Failure to Plead Adequate Damages

Authored by: Alan Pate In a ruling this past Wednesday, November 14th, a Federal Judge in the Western District of Washington dismissed a class action against video game developer Valve Corporation. The class action stemmed from a November 6th, 2011 data breach of Valve’s popular online video game distribution platform, “Steam.” As a result of … Continue Reading

Call Centers Increasingly Targeted in Class Action Lawsuits for Statutory Penalties Under Decades-Old California Law

Authored by: Paul Karlsgodt Editor’s Note – This article is a joint submission to BakerHostetler’s Class Action Lawsuit Defense blog. Companies that provide call center services to consumers are increasingly being targeted in class action lawsuits under an arcane section of the California penal code that provides a civil right of action and statutory damages … Continue Reading

Lessons For Privacy Advocates and Website Operators From Amazon Cookie Litigation

A Washington federal district court has dismissed with prejudice class action claims against Amazon alleging that the company’s use of cookies to track consumers’ personal data violated the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and has requested further briefing on a claimed violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act (WCPA). (Del Vecchio v. Amazon). This … Continue Reading

Reading This Might Just Preserve Your Identity and Reputation

Authorship Credit: Dave Taylor, Director, Information Technology, Baker & Hostetler LLP We are seeing a dramatic increase in spam and email phishing schemes once again.  These schemes have become very sophisticated in their ability to mimic the multitudes of legitimate on-line transactions that occur every day.  Please consider the following when reading and reacting to … Continue Reading

You Are What They Tweet: Why Clear Social Media Policies are Becoming More Critical to Employers in This Tech Age

Authorship Credit: Tarsha Luke The recent termination of a top executive of a publicly traded company is another example of some of the perils of mixing personal and workplace social media. The chief financial officer for a women’s clothing retailer, Francesca’s Holdings, was dismissed for disseminating non-public corporate information to his Twitter followers. After a … Continue Reading

UK Privacy Office Commences Enforcement of Cookie Rules

The reports of the Internet’s demise were greatly exaggerated. On May 25, 2012, the United Kingdom Information Privacy Office (the “IPO”)  ended its one-year moratorium on the enforcement of the European Directive governing the use of cookies (the “Cookie Directive”) and, contrary to the doomsayers, the Internet continues to function (as I assume it still … Continue Reading

Lessons Learned from the Second Circuit’s Reinstatement of Copyright Suit Against YouTube

The Social Media revolution is built on two legal foundations – the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) which generally protects websites that host user generated content from copyright claims, and the Communications Decency Act, which generally protects such websites from claims based on the publication of defamatory or other illegal content. The Second Circuit sent … Continue Reading

Video Interview: Discussing the Potential Impact of the FTC’s “Do Not Track” Initiatives on Premium Online Content with LXBN TV

This week Gerald Ferguson, National Co-Leader of the Baker Hostetler Privacy Security and Social Media Team had the opportunity to speak with Colin O’Keefe of LXBN TV on the subject of a post from last week: “FTC’s “Do Not Track” Initiative Could Create New Market for “Paid For” Internet Content.” In the post, Mr. Ferguson discussed the … Continue Reading

FTC’s “Do Not Track” Initiative Could Create New Market for “Paid For” Internet Content

“Information wants to be free” has been a rallying cry of technology activists from the inception of the Internet revolution. True to this slogan, web sites offering free web content and free web services are the most pervasive and popular sites on the Internet. But, to quote another adage that predates the Internet: “There is … Continue Reading

Strategies for Compliance with EU “Cookies” Directive

Reports of the demise of Internet innovation in the UK, as a result of the UK’s implementation last May of the new European Directive governing the use of “cookies” , were greatly exaggerated. That said, the impact of the Cookies Directive was delayed when the UK Information Privacy Office (“IPO”) announced that it would abstain … Continue Reading

Senator Reid Seeks to Break Cybersecurity Legislation Gridlock

Despite a strong bipartisan consensus that the United States needs a federal cybersecurity law, partisan bickering has prevented any significant progress on the many versions of cybersecurity legislation pending before Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is seeking to break the gridlock by bringing comprehensive cybersecurity legislation to the floor when Congress returns from … Continue Reading

Despite Growing Corporate Awareness of Data Breach Risk, Risk Planning Lags

Advisen has released report titled, “A New Era in Information Security and Cyber Liability Risk Management: A Survey on Enterprise-wide Cyber Risk Management Practices,” which summarizes the results of a survey of over 500 risk management professionals. More than 60 percent of the survey participants work for companies with annual revenues exceeding $1 Billion a year … Continue Reading

White Collar Wiretaps: Will Your Own Words Come Back to Haunt You?

Jonathan B. New, a partner in Baker Hostetler’s New York office and a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations Team, along with associate attorney Sammi Malek recently authored the article, “White Collar Wiretaps: Will Your Own Words Come Back to Haunt You?” published in the July 21, 2011 issue of the New York … Continue Reading

Cookies Crumbling? — An Update

The UK Information Commissioners Office (“ICO”) has clarified today that it will not commence enforcement of the controversial new EU rules governing the use of “cookies” until May of 2012 (the “EU Cookie Law”).  With certain limited exceptions, the new EU Cookie Law requires users to provide express “opt-in” consent before a website can place “cookies” on … Continue Reading

Fake Bin Laden Death Videos Contain Malware That Steals PII

The weakest link in our defense to computer security attacks can be our natural curiosity.  The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning for computer users that the latest hacking scam circulating the internet are messages claiming to include photos and videos of Osama bin Laden’s death.  These messages actually contain a virus that … Continue Reading

Hackers Are Using Compromised Personal Information to Further Hacking Schemes

In talking to friends and clients, we are seeing a recent upsurge in attacks by hackers who appear to have access to compromised personal information and are using that information to further hacking schemes.  We are sharing the facts of two recent attacks so that you can be on the lookout for these hacking techniques. 1.  An individual reported receiving an authentic looking email … Continue Reading