Key Point: If signed by the Governor, the legislation will expand the types of personal information covered by the CCPA’s provision authorizing private litigants to seek statutory damages of between $100 and $750, per consumer per incident, for data breaches.

On September 6, the California legislature passed amendments to the state’s data breach notification statutes

data privacyKey Point: The SHIELD Act increases the statutory penalties for knowing and reckless violations of the State’s data breach notification law. It also authorizes the NY Attorney General to pursue injunctive relief and monetary penalties against persons and businesses who fail to implement reasonable safeguards to protect New York residents’ private information.

On July 25, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed two bills related to data privacy and identity theft. In our June 24 post, we summarized the contents of the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (SHIELD Act). The second signing was the Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Services bill. Highlights of the laws’ requirements and effective dates are described below.


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digital keyKey Point: If signed by the Governor, the legislation will require entities doing business in New York to implement and maintain reasonable safeguards to protect the security, confidentiality and integrity of private information.

As it closed its session, the New York legislature passed the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (SHIELD Act). The bill, which the New York Attorney General’s (“AG”) office strongly supports, is now at the governor’s office for review. New York AG Letitia James stated New York will join the “increasing number of states that require reasonable data security protections, while being careful to avoid excessive costs to small business and without imposing duplicate obligations under federal or state data security regulations.”

If Governor Cuomo signs the bill, New York will build upon its existing data breach notification law, and add a new requirement for data custodians in the private and public sectors to adopt reasonable measures to safeguard sensitive data of New York residents.


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Conceptual image about how a laptop computer with internet open a virtual door to worldwide information sharing.Key Point: The Illinois data breach notification statute will now require entities to notify the Illinois Attorney General if a breach affects 500 or more Illinois residents.

The Illinois General Assembly recently voted to approve an amendment to the state’s Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) (815 ILCS 530/1 et seq.) with regards to companies’ and organizations’ obligations when a data breach occurs. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the amendment into law.
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Texas flagThe 86th Texas Legislature passed several bills related to cybersecurity during its regular session, which came to a close on May 27, 2019.

Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council

HB 4390, which creates a Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council to study privacy laws in Texas, other states, and relevant foreign jurisdictions, has been sent to the Governor for signature. Composed of members of the Texas House of Representatives, Texas Senate, and relevant industry members appointed by the Governor, the Council will be charged with recommending statutory changes regarding privacy and protection of information to the Legislature. The Council will expire on December 31, 2020.


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data privacy[Update:  After publication of the below post, AB 1035 was amended to remove the below-referenced language. The fact that the California legislature considered defining what constitutes “reasonable security procedures and practices” for purposes of the CCPA’s private right of action but, at least as of now, did not proceed with such legislation leaves businesses subject to the CCPA with little to no legislative direction as to how they can demonstrate that they are undertaking reasonable security procedures and practices. It also exposes the CCPA to the argument that the subject language is void for vagueness. Given the substantial penalties businesses are exposed to under the CCPA’s private right of action, the failure of the legislature to address this issue is notable especially considering that Ohio implemented legislation last year that California could have used as a guide.]

Given the near ubiquitous coverage of proposed CCPA amendments, it may be hard to believe that any bill could fly under the radar, but that appears to be the case with AB 1035, which would amend the CCPA’s private right of action to link “reasonable security procedures and practices” to NIST standards.


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It should come as no surprise that educational institutions are among the top targets for hackers and purveyors of personally identifiable information. In 2017, only the financial and healthcare sectors had more data breaches. Yet despite the looming menace of increased cyber-attacks, federal regulation of student data remains woefully inadequate. The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (“FERPA”) was enacted back in 1974, when the Internet was still a gleam in ARPANET’s eye and Jeff Bezos was only ten years old, and it has not been amended since 2001. It certainly protects (or tries to protect) student data from unwarranted disclosure or use, but it and the regulations that implement it do not meaningfully protect student data from theft or destruction. More importantly, FERPA fails to address, except in a few narrow situations, what kinds of obligations third-party contractors have vis-à-vis the student data that they collect and use. However, because FERPA has no preemption provisions, its mandates are a floor, not a ceiling; this means that states can step in and enact more stringent rules and regulations.

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Over the past five to ten years, the advancement of technology has produced a flurry of corporate cyber-attacks. Data breaches make the news virtually every day.

Too often, however, companies seek compensation for their data breach losses by making claims on commercial general liability (CGL) or property policies – policies that simply were not written

Blockchain technology is seeing increasingly wide use internationally, but security issues are becoming a major problem.

Blockchain is a public electronic ledger that can be openly shared among users and that creates an unchangeable record of their transactions. Each transaction, or “block”, is time-stamped and linked to the previous one. Each block is then linked to a specific participant. Blockchain can only be updated by consensus between users in the system, and when new data is entered, it can never be erased, edited, adjusted, or changed.


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For over twenty years, my father was a wholesale seafood supplier. One day over dinner (probably lobster, because that’s just how we rolled), my father tells us that he has hired an off-duty US Department of Agriculture inspector to inspect the fish that his company will be sending out to its grocery store clients. When I asked him if this was a legal requirement, he said it was not (the Department of Health and Human Services, via the FDA, apparently regulates fish, not the USDA). When I then asked him why he was doing it, he said, “If you were in the grocery store and you saw one piece of fish labelled ‘USDA Government Inspected’ and one piece of fish without that label, which one would you buy?” An informal “seal” program had been born!

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