Privacy, Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection

Overview

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher's Privacy, Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Practice Group has a demonstrated history of helping companies successfully navigate the complex and rapidly evolving laws, regulations, and industry best practices relating to privacy, cybersecurity and consumer protection.  Our global and interdisciplinary team advises clients across a broad range of industries in high-stakes matters on the full spectrum of issues in these areas.    

In the privacy area we have decades of experience with a wide array of counseling, government investigations and litigation.  Our deep roster of lawyers with experience at the highest levels of government is prepared to handle any type of government investigation.  Our elite class action team has successfully litigated scores of issues, including numerous matters of first impression.  Our experience includes advising a broad array of companies large and small, in Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, and around the world. 

We have substantial experience assisting companies with all facets of cybersecurity, including counseling clients through the important steps that must occur immediately after breach situations and navigating the federal and state government investigations and private litigation that increasingly accompany cybersecurity incidents.   

With respect to consumer protection, we advise clients on a broad array of issues, including advertising practices, consumer disclosures, and compliance with the myriad laws regulating consumer interactions.  We routinely appear before the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on consumer protection matters and have litigated complex consumer protection disputes involving a diverse range of industries.  

Our team includes lawyers with significant experience in litigation, government investigations, and corporate matters, many of whom have experience at senior government levels.  The practice group is led in part by a former U.S. Attorney who oversaw prominent high-technology prosecutions, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney with primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting computer crime and intellectual property cases, and a former senior official at the FTC.  Our team includes numerous other former computer crimes prosecutors, FTC lawyers, senior government officials at the DOJ, and leaders at the European Commission.  Our lawyers are distinguished not only by their substantive capabilities and advocacy skills, but also by their ability to guide clients through major events, deal with all relevant constituencies, and develop and implement a prompt and effective crisis management strategy. 

Our litigation and investigations experience includes: 

  • Defending companies in regulatory investigations, including FTC and state attorney general investigations
  • Defending companies in class action and other privacy and consumer protection litigation, including that stemming from data breaches
  • Responding to Congressional inquiries related to privacy and cybersecurity 

Data breach and crisis management experience includes: 

  • Counseling companies, executives and boards of directors on developing and implementing crisis management strategies
  • Coordinating breach notification responses and other regulatory obligations
  • Liaising with federal government, state law enforcement and regulatory officials, and international regulators
  • Assisting companies with prompt and effective media strategies 

Counseling and audits experience includes: 

  • Counseling related to compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations governing privacy, social media, data security, online advertising, e-commerce and related issues
  • Overseeing network security, privacy and cybersecurity compliance audits
  • Advising on data compliance strategies and the development of data protection and Internet enforcement compliance programs
  • Conducting assessments of privacy and data security programs 

Preparedness and transactional due diligence experience includes: 

  • Advising boards of directors and in-house counsel on governance matters, privacy and cybersecurity policies and procedures, risk management frameworks, incident response plans, and best practices related to preparedness
  • Performing privacy and information security due diligence in support of mergers and acquisitions and other corporate transactions
  • Advising on all aspects of technology-, data- and privacy-related corporate transactions
  • Counseling on securities law disclosures
  • Advising on legislative and regulatory developments 

Our capabilities are global.  Cybersecurity and privacy are global issues, and Gibson Dunn draws on its international team to seamlessly advise clients on sophisticated multijurisdictional matters.  The practice group includes lawyers in Brussels, London, Paris, Munich, Beijing, Singapore and Hong Kong who are exceptionally knowledgeable not only on relevant data protection and privacy laws at the national level, but are experienced in advising companies on European Union developments and coordinating multinational approaches. 

Experience

Recent representations include:

  • Serving as lead outside privacy and data security counsel for Facebook.  We advise the company on privacy and data security issues, private litigation matters including class action matters and FTC investigations.  Among many other representations, we represented Facebook in connection with the FTC investigation and enforcement action involving the company's online privacy practices – described by the FTC as its largest and most significant privacy investigation to date. 
  • Representing a leading international e-commerce site in connection with a data breach impacting potentially hundreds of millions of users, and handling related investigations by the FTC, various state attorneys general, and foreign data privacy authorities, as well as detailed forensic analysis and counseling on a range of privacy and cybersecurity issues.  
  • Obtained dismissal on behalf of mobile advertising and analytics networks in nationwide U.S. class action alleging that defendants collected and disclosed data and personal information from mobile devices without users' knowledge and consent, on grounds that plaintiffs lacked Article III standing and failed to state a viable claim.
  • Represented a leading digital media company facing a full-phase FTC investigation relating to compliance with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).  We obtained closure without conditions notwithstanding a recommendation from the FTC staff to pursue an enforcement action.
  • Achieved a complete victory for St. Joseph Health System by securing dismissal of a putative data breach class action.  Asserting claims under California's Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and the common law, including the right to privacy and negligence, plaintiff alleged that St. Joseph had lost possession of the confidential medical information of more than 33,000 patients.  The California Superior Court agreed with Gibson Dunn that plaintiff had not alleged sufficient facts to proceed and dismissed the case. 
  • Serving as U.S. coordinating counsel for data security matters for one of the world's largest global payment technology companies.
  • Represented an executive search firm in response to a sophisticated cyber-attack including advanced persistent threat intrusion and extensive exfiltration of sensitive databases.  We counseled the client on investigation of the intrusion, including supervising digital forensics investigation and data security improvements, handled referral of the incident to law enforcement and coordinated breach notification compliance, as well as public relations and SEC disclosure strategy.
  • Worked with a provider of social media services to ensure that all aspects of its user platform complied with the FTC's revised COPPA guidance.
  • Represented one of the world's largest engineering design firms in response to network intrusion, involving significant employee data breach.  We counseled the client on investigation of the incident, including supervising digital forensics investigation and data security improvements, coordinated breach notification compliance, public relations strategy, and law enforcement interaction.
  • Represented a Fortune 50 retailer in connection with multiple data security issues and related government investigations, including FTC and Secret Service investigations of a massive data breach impacting millions of credit card holders, and succeeded in persuading the FTC to close the nonpublic investigation without taking any action, based on demonstrated proof that our client had acted reasonably at every key juncture, both before and after the breach.