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Corporate Counsel: Q&A with O’Melveny’s Steve Bunnell: Cyber Risks Associated With Internet of Things

January 10, 2019

In a one-on-one discussion with Corporate Counsel, O’Melveny partner Steve Bunnell discusses the relationship between data privacy and the internet of things (IoT). As increased household products connect to the internet, more issues will arise for cybersecurity experts and data privacy attorneys.

“The privacy landscape is rapidly evolving with technology. Any one of these devices taken alone may not seem like a major intrusion into one’s private realms. When you aggregate it all together, there is a pattern of life that can emerge and feel very ‘Big Brother-y’,” said Bunnell.

Legally, Bunnell believes there will be increased IoT suits where users claim physical harm. “The harm isn’t that your personally identifiable information has been breached; for example, it’s that the hospital emergency room has been shut down by an attack launched by a bunch of ‘smart’ baby monitors that were hacked and were used to send messages to the hospital’s computer all at the same time. Then a ransomware demand is made to the hospital…The stakes are now much higher for cyberattacks in this realm.”

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