Fort Wayne-based Medical Informatics Engineering, Inc. has reached a $900,000 settlement with 16 states including Indiana in what North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein described as the first multistate lawsuit involving a HIPPA-related data breach.

“MIE’s data breach put people’s personal information — especially sensitive details about their health — at risk,” Stein said in a May 23 statement. “My office will continue to hold businesses and individuals accountable when they fail to protect people’s personal data.”

The settlement resolves a December 2018 lawsuit alleging MIE and NoMoreClipboard, LLC, violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, notice of data breach statutes, unfair and deceptive practice laws and state personal information protection laws.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill had announced last December his office was leading the federal lawsuit against MIE, which at the time involved only a dozen states.

His announcement had alleged between May 7, 2015, and May 26, 2015, hackers infiltrated WebChart, a web application run by MIE, and stole the electronic Protected Health Information of more than 3.9 million people.

Individual names, addresses, email addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, usernames, passwords, security questions and answers, health insurance policy information, lab results, diagnoses, disability codes and medical conditions were among the stolen data, the lawsuit alleged, according to the statement.

It also included names of and information on spouses and children of the individuals in the records as well as the names of their doctors, the lawsuit alleged.

Young co-sponsors TRACED Act

U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., has co-sponsored the bipartisan Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act to fight illegal robocall scams by increasing penalties and promoting call authentication and blocking.

The act also gives regulators more time to find scammers and brings state attorneys general and relevant federal agencies together to address barriers hindering criminal prosecution of robocallers who intentionally flout laws.

The TRACED Act was introduced by Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and John Thune, R-S.D. and went to the U.S. House for consideration after passing the Senate on May 23 on a 97-1 vote.

“Hoosiers are fed up with the increasing number of robocall scams that are flooding their phones. These calls, sometimes reaching 10 a day, are more than just an annoyance, they are a real threat to the vulnerable people they are designed to prey on,” Young said in a May 23 statement.

“As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I’m glad to work with my colleagues to advance this legislation. Today’s Senate passage of the TRACED Act is an important step, and I urge the House to work quickly to help end these illegal robocalls once and for all.”

Young had questioned a panel of telecommunications experts during an April Senate Commerce Committee Hearing about approaches to improving phone call authentication standards.

Kevin Rupy, a partner with Wiley Rein‘s Telecom, Media & Technology practice who was on the panel, said the criminal enforcement provisions of the TRACED Act would prevent scammers from setting up shop again once they are caught.

Also, “the facilitation and interagency work … will make finding these actors easier and faster,” he said.

A summary of the act in the statement on it said it:

• Broadens the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 per call on people who intentionally flout telemarketing restrictions.

• Extends the window for the FCC to catch and take civil enforcement action against intentional violations to three years after a robocall is placed. Under current law, the FCC has only one year to do so, and the FCC has told the committee that “even a one-year longer statute of limitations for enforcement” would improve enforcement against willful violators.

• Brings together the Department of Justice, FCC, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Commerce, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other relevant federal agencies, as well as state attorneys general and other non-federal entities to identify and report to Congress on improving deterrence and criminal prosecution at the federal and state level of robocall scams.

• Requires voice service providers to adopt call authentication technologies, enabling a telephone carrier to verify that incoming calls are legitimate before they reach consumers’ phones.

• Directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to help protect subscribers from receiving unwanted calls or texts from callers.

In addition to improving FCC flexibility to enforce regulations in the short term, the TRACED Act would set consultations in motion to increase the kind of prosecutions that often require international cooperation.

Launch Women registration open

The Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Center is inviting female founders who are starting, innovating or growing a tech business to apply for participation in the fourth cohort of its Launch Women Business Builder Program.

The program was designed by the WEOC to help level the playing field for women in the tech industry by increasing their access to mentoring, entrepreneurial tools and growth resources including access to capital.

The cohort is limited to 10 companies and uses shared workspace at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. Go to its registration application at https://northestindianainnovationcenter.formstack.com/forms/launch_women_application.

In addition to the workspace, business builders receive one-to-one personal and virtual coaching, peer-to-peer mentoring, access to NIIC Navigator Learning Management System and potential funding.

“These women meet each week and build their own cohort community. Despite working full-time jobs, caring for aging parents, delivering children or experiencing trauma, they support each other and give each other the courage through absolute transparency,” Leslee Hill, WEOC director, said in a statement. Technology companies are not quick turn startups.”

Those accepted into the program will not be charged for it because of contributions and NIIC’s Ideas@Work Movement.

Trine receives Rover Challenge grant

The Indiana Space Grant Consortium has awarded Trine University a $3,000 grant to support its participation in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration challenges student teams each year to design a two-person powered vehicle. The 2019-20 school year team from Trine’s Department of Design Engineering Technology will be the seventh it has sent to the competition.

The half-dozen students on the team will participate in it to fulfill a senior design project requirement. They also will complete science, technology, engineering and math experiences with more than 200 students from surrounding community school systems.

The grant will fund the purchase of materials for the rover construction and STEM engagement activities and cover competition-related travel costs.

The project “is an excellent fit with the Design Engineering Technology program goals,” Tim Jenkins, an associate professor in the department, said in the statement.

The 2020 NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge competition is scheduled to take place next April in Huntsville, Ala.

GAI celebrates relocation

GAI Consultants, a national engineering, planning, and environmental consulting firm, celebrated the relocation late last year of its Fort Wayne office with a mid-May ribbon cutting ceremony.

Allen County commissioners Therese Brown, Nelson Peters, and Richard Beck attended the event at its new 9921 Dupont Circle Drive West, Suite 100 location and remarks there were delivered by Peters and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, who also participated in the ribbon cutting.

The office showcases the work of artist Shalyn Bowman as part of the firm’s Local Seen program, which highlights the work of local artists, and she also attended the event.

The business moved into a larger, more contemporary space and a statement said its new location positioned it near key clients and would help it retain and attract top talent.

Veteran reporter Doug LeDuc joined Business Weekly in 2006 and primarily covers banking and finance and technology. You can send information for his weekly column to dleduc@kpcmedia.com or call 260-426-2640, ext. 3309.

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