Cyber Alert: New Era in Privacy Liability to Begin. California’s Data Privacy Law Could Be Game-Changer

As the nation’s most far-reaching data privacy law, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), is set to begin Jan. 1, 2020, businesses and their insurers are preparing for a new era in cyber liability.

Anxiety is on the rise and a sense of urgency has set in for Robert L. Wallan’s clients. Wallan, a partner in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Los Angeles, Calif., handles class actions, insurance recovery and business-related litigation.

Cities Turn to Hackers to Protect Their Tech

In early May, the city of Baltimore was struck by a ransomware attack that completely crippled the city’s computer networks and online services. Five weeks after the attack, the city was only able to restore one third of employees’ emails and the city’s billing system for water services was still offline. By July, email access for employees was finally restored, according to the Baltimore Sun, but the city’s email archive was still not accessible. Experts estimate that the Baltimore ransomware attack will cost the city approximately $18 million to restore all systems, yet the perpetrators of the attack demanded just $80,000 in cryptocurrency.

While Baltimore continues to make headlines, smaller cities and government agencies are also generating news about ransomware attacks. Three additional cities in Florida have been attacked and two of them — Lake City and Riviera Beach — agreed to pay the ransom, ranging from U.S. $500,000 to $600,000.

ShakeAlertLA Works, but Residents Want Even More Notice

(TNS) — More than 500,000 people have downloaded Los Angeles County’s new ShakeAlertLA app to warn them of impending earthquakes.

So when the two strongest earthquakes in almost two decades hit Southern California this month, those residents were surprised by what they saw on their smartphones: nothing.

Officials were quick to explain to outraged app users that the shaking in the county wasn’t strong enough to trigger an alert.

Southern California Quakes Raise Interest in West Coast Warning System

The powerful Mojave Desert earthquakes that rocked California ended a years-long lull in major seismic activity and raised new interest in an early warning system being developed for the West Coast.

The ShakeAlert system is substantially built in California and overall is about 55% complete, with much of the remaining installation of seismic sensor stations to be done in the Pacific Northwest, said Robert de Groot of the U.S. Geological Survey.

More Extreme Wet, Dry Seasons on the Horizon in California

(TNS) — California will get shorter bursts of more intense rainfall as the climate warms, a new study by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggests.

The study, “Precipitation regime change in Western North America: The role of Atmospheric Rivers,” was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. It projects that California will face greater extremes of wet and dry seasons, with rainy periods dominated by atmospheric rivers — powerful plumes of airborne moisture that drench the West Coast.

Planning Transportation Projects Using 'Ultrasound for Roads'

When transportation officials consider a construction project, they typically drill into the ground to determine the composition of the earth beneath the work site. The information gleaned from those tests helps determine the design or repair requirements, but it’s an imperfect science, as the results can contain information gaps due to differing conditions between drilling locations—even if they’re just feet apart.

In Arkansas, officials address that problem by using non-invasive seismic imaging—a so-called “ultrasound for roads” that uses existing technology to help highway planners more accurately map the subsurface. The project, a research partnership between the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) and the University of Arkansas, aims to help road projects stay on schedule and on budget by providing detailed information without the need for exploratory drilling.

An Earthquake’s Impact Can Be Predicted – But Only After it Hits

Over the next week, Southern California has only a 27% chance of experiencing a third earthquake greater than magnitude 6, but a 96% chance of going through a tremor of magnitude 5 or higher.

Those precise probabilities were generated by scientists at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), using models based on longstanding principles of seismic behavior and decades of data on aftershocks from earthquakes.

No Deaths Reported After 7.1 Earthquake in Southern California

(TNS) - For the second consecutive day, a major earthquake shook Southern California and was felt far beyond, stopping the NBA’s Summer League games in Las Vegas, forcing the evacuation of rides at Disneyland in Anaheim, and reminding residents that the state is always on unstable ground and destined for more.

It registered a magnitude of 7.1 on Friday night and was the strongest earthquake to hit the state in two decades, causing fires in the small town of Ridgecrest (population 29,000), and sending shock waves felt more than 300 miles away in all directions – Sacramento, Phoenix, Mexico.

Southern California Begins Assessing Damage From Largest Earthquake in 20 Years

RIDGECREST, Calif. — Crews in Southern California assessed damage to cracked and burned buildings, broken roads, leaking water and gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday after the largest earthquake the region has seen in nearly 20 years jolted an area from Sacramento to Las Vegas to Mexico.

No fatalities or major injuries were reported after Friday night’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake. But warnings by seismologists that large aftershocks were expected to continue for days — if not weeks — prompted further precautions.

Oregon Agency Charged with Earthquake Study and Preparation Could Be Abolished

The state agency in charge of earthquake study and preparation, as well as monitoring mining efforts in Oregon, could be shut down after going over budget for the second time in four years.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, widely known as DOGAMI, will lose three staff members and the Governor’s office is considering whether the agency should continue to exist in its current form given its financial issues.

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