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Bar Cybersecurity Panel Considers Data Privacy Certification Course

Senior Editor Top Stories

Data privacy/Barbara KelleyThe Cybersecurity & Privacy Law Committee has agreed to sponsor an intensive, two-day training seminar that would help Florida lawyers become internationally certified in data privacy.

Meeting virtually on October 18 at the Bar’s Fall Meeting, the committee voted unanimously to begin negotiating with “Privacy Ref,” a Boynton Beach firm that trains candidates to become “IAPP Certified Information Privacy Professionals.”

“I think we should be thinking about making as many Florida Bar members IAPP certified as possible,” said Co-Chair Franklin Zemel, referring to the International Association of Privacy Professionals. “I’ve been through the training in the past. They’re top-notch in every way.”

Although no agreement has been reached, the proposal would have Privacy Pro offer Florida Bar members a two-day, in-person training seminar at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, two days before the Bar convenes its Annual Convention there on June 19.

The training prepares candidates for an examination that the IAPP offers online.

Course registration costs $1,800 and it would not be affiliated with Florida Bar convention registration.

Some committee members expressed a concern that the test, which requires 40 hours of preparation, might be too rigorous for lawyers who aren’t tech proficient.

Franklin Zemel

Franklin Zemel

But Zemel said the training dovetails with the committee’s educational mission. Other committee members said they weren’t overly concerned.

“I haven’t heard about a lot of lawyers failing this, let’s face it, we all passed the Bar,” said Co-Chair Steven Teppler.

When he formed the Committee on Cybersecurity and Privacy Law in June, President Scott Westheimer said he envisioned it as a panel of IT experts that could serve as a technical resource for Florida Bar members. Teppler, a Mandelbaum partner who teaches a popular cybersecurity course at Nova Southeastern University College of Law, is an ISACA-certified data privacy solutions engineer. Zemel is a Saul Ewing partner who focuses his practice on cybersecurity and privacy law.

Most committee members share the co-chairs’ technical backgrounds.

In other business, the committee discussed pursuing a joint program with the Professional Ethics Committee, which sponsors the annual four-hour “Masters Seminar on Ethics.”

Over the years, Franklin and Zemel have presented a portion of the seminar that deals with a lawyer’s ethical responsibility for data security.

Another project the committee is exploring this year is setting up an “online repository for breaking news,” that would help warn Florida Bar members about emerging cybersecurity threats.

Steven Teppler

Steven Teppler

“This is something that might be helpful, on occasion, to have a sort of purple alert, or whatever you want to call it, for Florida lawyers,” Teppler said.

On Wednesday, the committee asked Bar staff to explore the potential for a warning system before developing a formal proposal.

The committee also formed a “working group” to explore the potential for seeking a formal Bar ethics opinion regarding what would constitute “reasonable security” for lawyers.

“In the absence of anything concrete . . . the cyber insurers are going to become the de facto regulators,” said committee member Chuck Bowen.

However, some members said they were concerned that an ethics opinion would set a standard that would require solo and small firms to pay for expensive IT system upgrades.

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