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Recent Top 10 Data Breaches – No. 9: UCLA Health

Online Platform     :       UCLA Health Network System

Year                          :       July 2015

Affected Patients :       4.5 million

Incident                   :       System hacking and leakage of health data

Introduction

UCLA Health, stands for University of California, Los Angeles Health, is a medical group comprised of 4 hospitals, claiming that they are providing the best healthcare and medical technology to the people in LA and the world.

Interestingly, according to the UCLA website, they have more than 200 physicians are listed among the Best Doctors in America. Each year, there are more than 100,000 patients are admitted into their hospitals.

But that’s not the point.

Internet Hacking, still

It was reported that in May 2015, hackers had hacked into the UCLA Health network system. There was about 4.5 million patients’ personal data and sensitive information on their health records had been compromised.

It would essentially mean that the 4 hospitals and other medical offices that inter-connected to the network system had been exposed to the internet hackers.

The data that had been accessed and potentially being “hacked” by the cyber-attackers comprised of social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses and medical information such as lab test results, diagnoses, medications and other health data.

So What’s The Issue Here?

Number 1 – Data Profiling.

The health records that were stored electronically would be beneficial in profiling a patient’s medical record, possibly enable related industry player such as pharmaceutical company to advertise and sell their products to such patient.

Further, this sensitive medical information may as well include high degree sensitivity data such as HIV test result, exposed such patient to unprotected and highly unsecured risk in revealing these data publicly which was meant to be own privacy.

Number 2 – No Data Encryption.

UCLA Health confirmed that their electronic medical records / data had not been encrypted, causing the personal data was exposed in a “naked” manner, by such analogy.

“Encryption” essentially means an extra step to secure and transform the data intended to be protected into another form by using a key (password). The intended recipient could “decrypt” the encrypted data back to original form.

Let’s use a patient’s HIV test record as an example.

Record ABC (HIV record) + Key (Encrypted) –> XYZ (secured data).

XYZ couldn’t be recognised even you have such data on hand.

XYZ (secured data) + Key (Decrypted) –> Record ABC (HIV record).

As such, the hackers that accessed and possibly stole the 4.5 million patients’ data were able to read the information easily without any challenges, as in a “naked” manner, because those data weren’t wearing any clothes.

More Interesting Facts – Identity Theft Insurance Coverage

Following the leakage of the personal data, UCLA announced that they were offering a year of identity-theft insurance protection to those affected patients.

An identity-theft insurance policy means that if your identity is stolen (which mean your personal data) and because of such incident, you suffered financial losses such as the hacker log in to bank account and siphoned out the money, the insurance company will cover the victim’s financial losses up to certain insured amount.

However, a loss of personal data would beyond pure monetary loss. Imagine the HIV test result has been made publicly, it is arguable that the damage on the reputation or image is irreparable and such harm cannot be undone.

What’s More Interesting? – The Hospital Could Be Made Liable!

In United States for example, they have a federal law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 1996 made under the administration of Bill Clinton.

Under HIPAA, the hospital would need to adopt certain protective measures in guarding the patients’ electronic medical records failing which they could be made liable for such breach.

In 2008, there was a medical data leakage caused by UCLA’s internal workers who snooped and then sold the medical records of famous artists such as Britney Spears. UCLA paid $865,500 to the federal enforcers.

English Articles

Recent Top 10 Data Breaches – No. 10: EBay

Online Platform   :       Ebay Online Trading Platform

Year                        :       May 2014

Affected Users    :       145 million

Incident                 :       System hacking and leakage of personal data

Internet Hacking

Ebay is well known for its online trading platform, a venue for global willing buyers and sellers to trade via online equipped with payment gateway system.

In May 2014, EBay announced that according to a cyber-attack launched against the said E-Commerce platform, it was estimated that 145 million users’ personal data has been compromised and leaked to 3rd party. The cyber-attack was reportedly initiated by way of internet hacking between late February and early March 2014.

According to EBay, the involved personal data included users’ email addresses, passwords, birth dates and correspondence address. However, EBay insisted that there was no financial information being affected in the cyber-attack.

EBay has advised all users to change their passwords after the event.

So What’s The Issue?

Many do not realise that EBay users’ accounts were actually linked to social media profile such as Facebook account. To be fair it wasn’t EBay, only, but rather majority of forums, websites, E-Commerce platforms allow login service by way of social media account.

Once such E-Commerce online platform users’ accounts were linked to and/or registered by way of social media account, the hackers or whoever that managed to obtain the personal data from EBay are able to perform data profiling.

So What’s Data Profiling?

The connection that linked with for example Facebook account, would expose and reveal the EBay users’ actual name that shown in their respective Facebook profile, and perhaps other data associated.

It essentially means that the hacker would be able to track and trace a virtual EBay user to an actual individual by looking into the data associated or shown in Facebook account.

In the meantime, data profiling is a type of data examination that allows collection and setting of statistics and summary from an existing information source. The collected, compiled and summarised statistics would help to locate, identify and trace a purchasing record, living or spending habit or even detailed profile of one online user.

Let’s take EBay for example. Purchasing data for condom or pregnancy test or even HIV test would benefit or useful to pharmaceutical company or related advertisers.

Another aspect from such data leakage is the investigation of the authority. Imagine that the data or purchasing record on purchasing gun-related accessories would enable one to profile the user as firearm user (could be registered or unregistered user in United States). Such privacy loophole would enable the law enforcers to run a “free” background check especially on unregistered gun users that go dark.

-Please stay tune for the next Recent Top 10 Data Breaches – No. 9-

爱FM法律节目, 中文文章

我有办法:真假消息,如何辨明真偽

东方日报:我有办法:真假消息,如何辨明真偽

身处于这个资讯爆炸的时代,报章、网络、社交媒体充斥著大量的资讯及信息;可是,这些读到、看到或听到的一切是否属实呢?一旦你所相信的资讯是假资讯,你针对此进行评论或转发,法律角度而言,又会构成什么罪名呢?

陈键汉律师指出,在大马,当局针对假消息及新闻,制定了数条相关的法律条文。

他解释,在大马,誹谤可以是民事案,也可以是刑事案(刑事法典499条文刑事誹谤)。

「一般上我们在报章上看到的誹谤案件都属于民事案,即在《1957年誹谤法令》下被控。」

他指出,若要起诉一人誹谤,至少需证明3个条件:一、证明那个人所说的话、或所用的文字,具有誹谤成份;二、誹谤的言论清楚指向或辨认所指之人,乃是起诉人;三、誹谤的言论已被刊登(包括纸媒及社交媒体),让第三者得知。

AiFM主持人邱淑霖举例,当A说所有政治人物都是骗子,不能起诉他誹谤,因为这句话过于笼统,同时也未指名道姓;惟她强调,若A说,某某政党的第二领导人是骗子,儘管A没有指名道姓,但只要大多数读者能够確认被誹谤者是谁,就已经符合誹谤的元素。

陈键汉补充,若A指责B愚蠢,但是没有第三者在场,即不符合第三个元素,不构成誹谤。

他指出,一旦被起诉誹谤,答辩人可以提出言论属实、合理评论、无意誹谤、特权等理由为自己辩护。

他举例,A指B贪污,並受贿5万令吉,如果能够证明这件事是真的,即言论属实,A无罪。

至于合理评论,即A所说的誹谤性言论,必须出自于出自于內心深处最诚实的表达,同时所说的话涉及公眾利益。

针对特权这辩护理由,陈键汉举例,若A引述法官判词评论B,A即拥有绝对权利;至于有限特权(也称有条件特权),A是以道德义务及法律层面说出一番涉及公眾利益的话。

「比如,A公司的某员工B犯下欺骗及偷窃,A把此事记录在案;当B的新雇主打电话来询问关于B的事情时,A可以告知B曾经欺骗及偷窃的事情。若A被起诉,A能够以这理由辩护,因为他是为了未来雇主的利益著想。」

同时,刑事法典499(誹谤)条文阐明,任何人通过说话或阅读或看得见的形式,製作或刊登任何伤害某一个人的声誉,已誹谤他人,一旦罪成,最高刑罚为两年监禁或罚款,或两者兼施。

他举例,A说B是个很诚实的孩子,他从来没有偷过C的手錶。他指出,A这样的举动有意图促使他人相信B曾经偷过C的手錶,以这样的情形而言,A已经构成誹谤罪。

陈键汉补充,若A被问及谁偷了C的手錶时,A指向B;或是A花了一幅画显示B拿了C的手臂在逃跑,都属有意图促使他人相信B偷了C的手錶,已属誹谤。

他总结说,无论是应付来自国內还是国外的假消息和偽新闻,民眾应该先检查事实,並把事实和意见分开,切勿立刻转发,最好向有关部门求证。

嘉宾DJ:陈键汉律师
电台主持人:丘淑霖

中文文章

网站条款按“同意”的法律效用

是否曾想过,共结连理时那一声“我愿意/I Do”是一项口头合约,具有法律约束力。当然,违约的后果可是不堪入目。当我们在网络世界游览网站或购物时,经常要求网络使用者注册用户户口(user account)以便能继续购物和付款。

问题来了。当网站强制我们注册户口的当儿,会出现要求我们同意并确认网站使用条款(Terms & Conditions),如果不打勾就无法继续购物或游览,实在扫兴。可是同时我们也发现,有些网站并没有强制使用者按“同意”键却可以继续购物或游览,为何会有这样的分别?

一个比较全面的网站必定会有使用条款,使用条款一般上则围绕在免责条款(indemnity),意即若使用者在使用网站购物或依赖网站的资讯后而受到任何损害时,使用者同意网站不会负上任何责任。使用者往往在游览或使用网站时并没有注意到任何使用条款的栏目,又或是我们都往往选择,刻意或不需要去理会这些terms and conditions。可是我们是否有想过这些使用条款其实会是一份具有法律约束力的合约?

普遍上网站可以通过以下2种方式和使用者缔结具有法律约束力的合约,分别是:

  1. 点选同意合约(ClickWrap Agreement),意思是当你按下“同意”键的时候,你已被当作认同和接受该网站的所有使用条款,缔结了一份使用合约;或
  2. 游览同意合约(BrowseWrap Agreement),意思是网站的使用条款说明,虽然你没有按下任何“同意”键(又或没这个“同意”键给你按),不过当你继续游览或使用网站时,透过这样的举动被当作已接受了使用条款,缔结了一份使用合约。

这样的方式相当吊诡,站在合约法的角度,双方在缔结合约时的意图(intention)相当重要。以上2种方式都不属于好的方法,始终传统的合约签署才是比较保障的做法。马来西亚的电子法律未迎头赶上,但以美国为例子,他们确实在这一块做得比别人快,甚至比较好。

点选同意合约(ClickWrap Agreement

美国法庭比较倾向于认同点选同意合约,并给予法律效用。虽然使用者在打勾和按下“同意”键之前也许并没有阅读所有条款条文,但美国法庭认同这已提供了足够的机会给使用者检阅和同意这些条款。美国法庭也认为使用者其实不需要阅读所有条款,只要网站提供了合理的通知和机会给使用者阅读就可以了。

有一些网站甚至准备了更仔细和“贴心”的条款栏目,即会强制使用者把栏目箭头往下拉后才可以顺利按下“同意“键。因此,这样的动作就表示了使用者已同意网站的使用条款,也意味缔结了一份使用合约。

游览同意合约(BrowseWrap Agreement

可想而知,游览同意合约存在许多争议,因为游览同意合约仅仅透过游览和使用网站的被动动作(passive conduct)而认为你已同意使用条款,进而缔结了使用合约,一旦发生任何纠纷时网站将依赖此条款/合约拒绝负上任何责任。

乍看之下游览同意合约的确有偏于网站而非使用者,因为这些使用条款并没有清楚和明显地显示在网页内让使用者知道。有鉴于此,法庭普遍上都会认为这样的缔结方式对使用者不公。通过游览同意缔结的合约,缺少了合理的通知和机会,导致使用者对使用条款完全不知情。站在法律的角度,法律倾向于认同较合理的举动(reasonable act)。

如何制定一份好的使用条款?

它须具备以下几项条件:

  1. 必须清楚地显示给网站使用者这些使用条款的存在,或在使用者付款之前显示给使用者再看多一遍(记住,这并不是要使用者查阅所有条款);
  2. 让使用者轻易的查阅和游览所有的使用条款;
  3. 提供使用者打印或存档使用条款;
  4. 提供使用者“同意”或“不同意”的选项;以及
  5. 确保使用者在按下“同意”键后该使用条款能让使用者轻易的查询。

在迈向和强化电子商务的时代,商家确实有需要自我加强网站或电子商务平台的使用性和法律约束力,使电子业务更具竞争力与法律效用。