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Online Shopping, Pandemic Elevate Legal Risk for E-Retailers

Bracewell’s David Springer looked at the heightened cyber-risk during the holiday season with Bloomberg Law reporter Jake Holland.

As consumers opt for online purchases in lieu of crowded malls and long in-store lines during the coronavirus-impacted Thanksgiving holiday, the threat of data breaches and digital malfeasance looms large.

“It’s an opportune time for bad actors, conducting an attack while the victim is distracted with eating turkey and watching football,” said Springer.

Aside from causing headaches for consumers, cyberattacks tied to e-commerce sites or mobile applications could open businesses up to legal liability in the form of lawsuits or regulatory enforcement actions.

Regulators such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission are on the lookout for companies who aren’t forthright with how they handle their data, Springer said. State enforcement agencies can target companies for deceptive trade practices, such as saying they use data in one way but actually use it in another, he said.

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