We pack tons of personal and sensitive information in our DNA.  While the human genome has been mapped for a decade, legal issues of genetic privacy are just beginning to rise.  Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court decided what Justice Alito described as “perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that this court has heard in decades.”  The case addressed whether police could constitutionally take a DNA sample from a person arrested for a serious crime, and in a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that DNA collection serves the legitimate government interest in identifying arrestees.  In the majority opinion, however, Justice Kennedy noted that, “If in the future police analyze samples to determine, for instance, an arrestee’s predisposition for a particular disease or other hereditary factors not relevant to identity, that case would present additional privacy concerns not present here.” 

As a growing number of states pass legislation which will protect individuals’ social media accounts from employer scrutiny, they have encountered a surprising adversary – FINRA and other securities regulators.

To date, at least six states have enacted social media employee privacy laws (which were blogged about here, here

On April 5, 2013, New Mexico joined six other states (including, among others, Utah, Maryland and California) in passing a new law prohibiting employers from requesting or requiring that a prospective employee provide access to his or her social networking accounts.  Proskauer’s Labor & Employment group has discussed

Following a growing trend among states, on March 26, 2013, the Utah legislature passed the Internet Employment Privacy Act, which prohibits employers from requesting that job applicants or employees disclose passwords protecting their personal internet accounts.  Proskauer’s Labor & Employment group has discussed the new law here.

For the second year in a row, Proskauer has conducted a global survey, “Social Media in the Workplace Around the World 2.0”, which addresses the use of social media in the work place. In 2012, Proskauer surveyed multinational businesses in 19 different countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong-Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States) in order to provide a worldwide perspective of workplace use of social media.  This survey not only shed light on notable developments in the use of social media in the workplace, but also helped identify consistent traits.

As physicians, nurses, therapists and health care providers continue to utilize new smart phones, tablets, and laptops in caring for patients, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has responded with educational videos, worksheets and guidance to help health care providers  create a “culture of compliance and awareness” and to protect patients’ Protected Health Information (“PHI”).  While the material is focused on health care professionals, the information is also applicable to group health plan professionals and their business associates who use mobile devices to store and transmit PHI in connection with administration of group health plans.