Photo of Steven M. WernikoffPhoto of Steven M. Wernikoff

Steven M. Wernikoff

Partner
Co-Leader, Data Security and Privacy Litigation; and Autonomous Vehicle Groups

Education

Pennsylvania State University, B.A.
  • Journalism
  • with high distinction
Northwestern University School of Law, J.D.
  • Managing Editor, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
  • Legal Clinic

Prior Employment

  • Federal Trade Commission, Enforcement Director, Office of Technology Research & Investigation, 2015 - 2017; Senior Staff Attorney, 2000 - 2015
  • Jenner & Block, Chicago, Associate, 1994 - 1997

Bar Admissions

Clerkships

  • U.S. District Court Judge George M. Marovich, Chicago, IL, Law Clerk, 1998 - 2000
  • U.S. Magistrate Judge Ian H. Levin, Chicago, IL, Law Clerk, 1997 - 1998
Overview
Experience
News & Resources
Honors

Overview

After serving more than 17 years at the Federal Trade Commission, Steve Wernikoff has substantial experience regarding mobile and emerging technologies, privacy, data security, advertising and marketing, connected devices, and big data matters. He provides counsel and guidance to help clients protect their interests as they navigate the ever-changing technology landscape.

  • Advises clients on a broad spectrum of privacy, data security, and related consumer protection rules, as well as conforming to best practices and self-regulatory programs
  • Counsels clients on advertising, marketing, and other e-commerce compliance matters, including email and mobile marketing, advertising substantiation, online affiliate and influencer marketing, and telemarketing
  • Defends clients in law enforcement investigations and litigation involving a wide range of regulatory and consumer protection issues, including privacy, data security, advertising, marketing, and ecommerce

Experience

  • Acted as lead litigation counsel and investigation manager in dozens of civil prosecutions involving a wide range of e-commerce and emerging technology issues, including Internet and mobile advertising, credit card and other financial fraud, data privacy and security, spam, and telemarketing
  • As member of the FTC’s Office of Technology Research and Investigation, coordinated investigations and civil prosecutions involving mobile and emerging technologies throughout all divisions and regional offices within the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, including issues involving privacy, data security, emerging payment methods, fraud, big data, and the "internet of things"
  • Trained U.S., state, and foreign law enforcement attorneys and investigators on the broad range of investigative techniques and legal issues involving mobile and other emerging technology matters
  • Advised businesses and consumers on privacy and security issues, including co-organizing FTC’s Chicago “Start with Security” workshop and Ransomware workshop
  • Liaised with international and U.S. federal and state law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, USPIS, US Secret Service, and State Attorneys General on hi-tech investigations

Trunq, Founder, Chicago, 2015 - present

  • Sole founder of unique private messaging and personal cloud storage application
  • Member of 1871, Chicago's innovation, technology and entrepreneurship center

News & Resources

Seminars & Events

  • “Affiliate Marketing Legal and Investigation Issues,” Panelist, Unsoliciated Communications Enforcement Network Meeting, Paris, France, October 2016
  • Overview of the Ransomware Threat,” Panel Moderator, FTC Fall Technology Series: Ransomware, Washington, DC, September 2016
  • Adapting to Changing Regulatory, Legislative, and Enforcement Activities and Some Practical Pointers on Ways to Help American Businesses Remain Compliant,” Panelist, American Conference Institute’s 19th Advanced Global Legal & Compliance Forum on Cyber Security & Data Privacy and Protection, Chicago, IL, June 2016
  • Considering Security When Working with Third Parties,” Panel Moderator, Start with Security Conference, Chicago, IL, June 2016
  • “Regulatory Insights from a Corporate & Regulator Perspective,” Panelist, Chicago Bar Association Cyber Law and Data Privacy Committee, Chicago, IL, June 2016
  • “Challenges Protecting Consumers Posed by the Digital Revolution,” Presentor, Loyola University Chicago School of Law Symposium on Advertising in Digital Media: Disclosures and Transparency in Social Media, Chicago, IL, March 2016
  • “Sale Slash: Investigating and Prosecuting an Affiliate Marketing Fraud Operation,” Co-Presentor, Digital Crimes Consortium, Vienna, Austria, March 2016
  • “IoT Security,” Discussant, Messaging Malware Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group Meeting, San Francisco, CA, February 2016
  • “After the Breach,” Panelist, DePaul University Cyber-Risk Conference, Chicago, IL, December 2014
  • “Two Steps Ahead: Protect Your Digital Life,” Panelist, National Cyber Security Alliance event, Minneapolis, MN, December 2014
  • “The New Frontier: 2015 Predictions for Cyber Events,” Panelist, Chicagoland ACC and Corporate Inside Counsel event, Chicago, IL, September 2014
  • “U.S. Cybercrime and Data Security 2014: Understanding Today’s Changing Threat Landscape,” Panelist, Sandpiper Partners Breakfast Briefing, Chicago, IL, July 2014
  • “Mobile Threats,” Panelist, Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group Meeting, Montreal, Canada, October 2013
  • “Tackling the Legal Issues of Privacy & Data Security in a Mobile World,” Panelist, Chicago Bar Association’s Cyber Law and Data Security Privacy Committee, Chicago, IL, July 2013
  • “Consumer Protection and Antitrust Enforcement Developments & Compliance in Social Media,” Panelist, Mayer Brown Symposium on Social Media, Chicago, IL, March 2013
  • “Emerging Threats – Mobile Technology,” Panelist, London Action Plan meeting, London, England, October 2012
  • “Mobile Application Privacy Summit,” Panelist, App Developers Alliance, Chicago, IL, June 2012
  • “Emerging Technology and the Impact on Marketing and Promotions,” Panelist, ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law Roundtable, Chicago, IL, June 2012
  • “Data Security and Data Breach,” Panelist, Chicago Bar Association Cyber Law and Data Privacy Committee, Chicago, IL, June 2012
  • “Text Message Spam – Tracking Down the Perpetrators,” Presentor, FTC Common Ground Conference, Chicago, IL, June 2012
  • “Legal & Regulatory Issues Affecting Marketing & Advertising Professionals,” Panelist, University of Chicago Booth School of Business Roundtable, Chicago, IL, November 2011
  • “Authorities In Action: An Overview of Recent International Abuse Enforcement Cases,” Presentor, London Action Plan and Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group Meeting, Paris, France, October 2011
  • “Industry Regulation,” Panelist, DailyDealMedia Conference, Chicago, IL, September 2011
  • “Data Security: Protecting Your Clients and Your Company,” Panelist, Jenner & Block Data Security Conference, Panelist, Chicago, IL, September 2011
  • “Micro-Charges Case Study,” Presentor, Digital Crimes Consortium, Montreal, Canada, October 2010
  • “Cross Border Law Enforcement Case Studies” and “Electronic Commerce: Cat and Mouse 2.0,” Presentor, International Consumer Production Enforcement Network, Washington, D.C., May 2010
  • “Robocallers – Investigative Techniques and Litigation Strategies” and “Internet Investigations – Tracking Down the Online Scam,” Presentor, FTC Midwest Region Common Ground Conference, Chicago, IL, March 2010
  • “Legal Aspects of Cybercrime Enforcement,” Presentor, Digital Crimes Consortium, Redmond, WA, October 2009
  • “Collaborative Cybersecurity Case Studies,” Panel Moderator, Internet2 Collaborative Data-Driven Security for High Performance Networks Conference, May 2009
  • “Ecommerce and Consumer Issues,” Presentor, Indian Competition for Consumer Protection conference, New Delhi, India, March 2009
  • “Web Security and Malware,” Presentor, SC Magazine World Congress, New York, NY, December 2008
  • “Cross Border Investigation and Case Studies,” Presentor, Anti-Spam Summit, Wiesbaden, Germany, Oct. 2008
  • “If the Government Comes to Call,” Presentor, FTC-BBB Rules of the Road for Advertisers conference, Minneapolis, MN, April 2008
  • “Legal Aspects in Internet Threat Investigations and Prosecutions,” Presentor, London Action Plan and EU Contact Network of Spam Authorities Meeting, Arlington, Virginia, October 2007
  • “ID Theft & Security Breaches,” Presentor, Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Chicago, IL, May 2007
  • “Law Enforcement Collaboration and Training,” Presentor, 9th Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group Meeting, San Francisco, CA, January 2007
  • “Spam Enforcement” and “International Cooperation,” Presentor, London Action Plan and EU Contact Network of Spam Authorities Meeting, Brussels, Belgium, December 2006
  • “Technology and eCommerce Law – Safety Issues Online,” Presentor, International Bar Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, September 2006
  • “Spam Enforcement,” Presentor, National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance, Slam Spam II Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, July 2006
  • “Dot.COMpliance: Special Consideration for E-tailers,” Presentor, FTC Rules of the Road for Advertisers Conference, Chicago, IL, March 2005
  • “Spam and Spyware and Security Breaches,” Presentor, Kirkland & Ellis’s Sixth Annual Advertising Law Seminar, Chicago, IL, June 2004
  • “A Computer Law Update: Spam, Pop-Ups, Hacking, Theft of Trade Secrets and Other Security Issues,” Presentor, Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago and The John Marshall Law School Internet Law Seminar, Chicago, IL, November 2003
  • “DOT.COMpliance: Information About Online Advertising,” Presentor, FTC Rules for the Road for Advertisers, Louisville, KY, September 2003
  • “Internet Auction Fraud,” Presentor, DOJ and FTC Internet Investigative Techniques Conference, Minneapolis, MN, June 2001
  • “Ethical E-commerce,” Presentor, Chicago Better Business Bureau Conference, Presentation, Chicago, IL, November 2000

Honors

  • Louis D. Brandeis Award: Sustained Excellence in Litigation in Conduct of Significant Cases, 2010; highest award given annually to a single FTC attorney

  • Janet D. Steiger Award: Outstanding Contributions to Mobile & Emerging Payments Team, 2014

  • Paul Rand Dixon Award: Outstanding Analytical, Research and Investigative Skills, 2013

  • Director’s Award: Outstanding Contributions to Consumer Protection, 2008 and 2002

Academic Appointments

Northwestern University School of Law, Adjunct Professor (2004-2007)

  • Seminar concerning Internet fraud, online advertising and privacy issues

John Marshall Law School, Adjunct Instructor (1998-2004)

  • LL.M.-level Internet fraud seminar
  • Legal brief writing, computer research skills and oral advocacy