Protecting Whistleblowers: The Dodd-Frank Act

In an unprecedented action, the Security and Exchange Commission raised the bar when it comes to protecting whistleblowers.  Houston-based engineering and tech firm Kellog Brown & Root, Inc. (KBR) received a cease and desist order and a $130,000 penalty for language in a confidentiality agreement employees were required to sign in 2015.

KBR is one of the largest government contractors with over 25,000 employees across 40 countries.  Between 2002-2011, they won nearly $40 billion in federal work in Afghanistan and Iraq.  A former employee brought about allegations that KBR and Halliburton (KBR’s former parent company and one of the world’s largest [...]


Personal Health Information and the Department of Health and Human Services

How safe is your personal health information?  Two studies by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) point out perceived deficiencies in the way Americans’ health information is protected and secured under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  The reports, made public in October 2015, target the audit process and lay out plans to revamp the audit program in early 2016.

Protected health information (PHI) includes a patient’s name, age, gender, prognosis, and payment for treatment.  This information, whether communicated orally, electronically, or in written form, when handled by health care providers, [...]


Yik Yak App: Anonymity vs Privacy

Use of a popular app among college students has some users behind bars and others questioning how anonymous the program really is.  Yik Yak, developed in 2013, provides users a real-time feed of comments from people around them geographically.  Simply type in your cell phone number, and share thoughts, jokes, questions, etc. with those around you.  Users may also choose to search other communities to see what people are saying in other places.

However, not everyone uses the free app just for fun.  Just this month, two students at two separate universities were arrested for making racially charged threats on Yik [...]


Safe Harbor Declared "Invalid"

There will be some significant changes on the horizon regarding how private information is transferred between European Union nations and the United States.  Modifying the flow of data across these international borders may have a negative impact on commerce and has the potential to affect all European technology users. On October 6, 2015, the European Court of Justice found invalid “Safe Harbor,” the framework for how United States companies transfer personal data of European Economic Area citizens.


Back to the Beginning:  The Data Protection Directive

Part of the European Union privacy and human rights law, the Data Protection Directive was adopted by [...]


Price Discrimination

Price discrimination is a strategy that is frequently used by commercial organizations as a way of distinguishing between different groups of customers. By separating consumers into subcategories, companies can charge different prices for the same goods or services.

With the rapid growth of e-commerce, companies are able to experiment with and implement different price discrimination strategies. Online consumers consciously and unconsciously provide vendors with information that helps them to split the market into segments for price discrimination. This article introduces basic concepts involved in price discrimination, as well as some of the impacts on consumers’ [...]