Keypoint: The AG’s office again signals that the CCPA’s July 1 enforcement deadline will not be extended.

In another sign that the California Attorney General has no plans to delay the CCPA’s July 1, 2020, enforcement deadline, on Friday April 10, 2020, the AG’s office issued a press release reminding California residents of their data privacy rights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue Reading CCPA Update: AG Says CCPA Privacy Rights Now “More Important Than Ever”

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it will refrain from imposing penalties for violations of HIPAA for covered entities or business associates participating, in good faith, in the operation of COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Sites during the nationwide public health emergency. The notice related to the relaxation of HIPAA rules comes on the heels of pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, taking on a more active and critical role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Our healthcare team synthesizes what the waiver does and does not include in this post on our Healthcare Law Insights blog.

Section 3221 of the CARES Act ratified fundamental changes to the Public Health Service Act requiring HHS to revise 42 C.F.R. Part 2,  regulations within 12 months. The changes are significant and follow the increasing movement to align the rules that govern the confidentiality requirements of substance use disorder records with HIPAA. Our health law team summarizes the changes on Healthcare Law Insights.

Keypoint: After an active winter of proposed state privacy laws, it appears that all eyes will once again be on California for the remainder of the year as we wait for final CCPA regulations, the fate of the CCPA 2.0 ballot measure, and other privacy bills being considered by the California legislature.

Over the past few months, there has not been a lack of things to talk about as it relates to U.S. privacy law developments. Between the CCPA, Washington Privacy Act, CCPA 2.0, and numerous privacy bills proposed in state legislatures, practically every day brought a new story.  However, a lot has changed in a short period of time.

First, the Washington Privacy Act failed to pass (although Washington did enact a facial recognition bill). Then, the world changed with the Coronavirus pandemic.

Yet, there are still developments in U.S. privacy law. Below is an overview of the ones that we have been tracking over the past few weeks.

Continue Reading U.S. Privacy Law Update: Analyzing the Status of the CCPA, CCPA 2.0, and Other Proposed State Privacy Legislation

The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently released guidance and helpful examples illustrating how Covered Entities can comply with HIPAA and the Privacy Rule and still disclose protected health information (PHI) about individuals infected with or exposed to COVID-19 to Essential Providers. Read the full post on our Healthcare Law Insights blog.

On March 20, 2020 OCR released a Frequently Asked Questions list to help further clarify its March 17th Waiver.  In the FAQ, OCR clarifies that the waiver not only allows providers to utilize platforms that do not comply with the requirements of the Security Rule (discussed in our original post), but it also applies to the Breach Notification and Privacy Rules that may be implicated when using a less secure platform. OCR also assures providers that if protected health information is intercepted and during the the “good faith provision of telehealth,” OCR will not pursue otherwise applicable penalties.

Continue Reading OCR Releases FAQ: Update to March 17 Telehealth Waiver Announcement

Keypoint: Individuals and businesses should take steps to prevent against becoming victims of the rapid rise in Coronavirus-related hacking scams.

On March 20, 2020, the FBI issued an alert warning that cyber thieves are actively trying to exploit the Coronavirus pandemic to steal money, commit identity theft, and engage in other hacking-related activity. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a similar alert earlier this month.

Continue Reading FBI and CISA Warn of Coronavirus-Related Cyber Scams

Keypoint: The California Attorney General’s office does not currently plan to extend the CCPA’s enforcement deadline but left the door open to reconsider its position as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.

As we previously reported, on March 17, 2020, over thirty trade associations, companies, and organizations sent a letter to California Attorney General Becerra requesting that, in light of the coronavirus crisis and unfinished status of the regulations, he “forebear from enforcing the CCPA until January 2, 2021 so businesses are able to build processes that are in line with the final regulations before they may be subject to enforcement actions for allegedly violating the law’s terms.”

Continue Reading CCPA Update: California AG Responds to Request to Postpone CCPA’s Enforcement Deadline

Keypoint: The California Attorney General’s office has not addressed whether businesses may delay responding to CCPA requests due to the Coronavirus pandemic; however, businesses can look to the CCPA’s 45-day extension for relief, at least with respect to responding to requests to know and delete.

To state the obvious, businesses subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) may have more urgent matters to handle these days than responding to CCPA consumer requests.

Yet, the California Attorney General’s office – the CCPA’s enforcement arm – has been silent on whether it will take into account these extenuating circumstances when exercising its enforcement authority come July 1. This may be due to the unique circumstance in which the Attorney General finds itself – i.e., stuck between the CCPA’s effective date and enforcement date.

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, the Attorney General publicly stated that CCPA enforcement actions can cover activities between January 1 and July 1 (see here and here). Whether or not that position is ultimately legal, it places businesses in a difficult situation when balancing Coronavirus-related business disruptions and responding to CCPA consumer requests in a timely manner.

Continue Reading Responding to CCPA Requests During the Coronavirus Pandemic

On March 17, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced that it will exercise its enforcement discretion and waive potential penalties for HIPAA violations against healthcare providers that see patients through non-public communication applications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.

Background on Security Requirements for Telemedicine providers

Under what is commonly referred to as the HIPAA “Security Rule,” CMS requires organizations to have certain safeguards in place to protect patients’ health information. These safeguards require organizations to comply with certain minimum technical and organizational requirements. Part of the technical requirements is that organizations must have security measures in place “to guard against unauthorized access to electronic protected health information that is being transmitted over an electronic communications network.” This requires providers to utilize telehealth platforms that have, at a minimum, certain encryption and integrity controls in place. Furthermore, as an organizational safeguard, the Security Rule requires that telehealth providers enter into Business Associate Agreements with these platforms to ensure the platform will comply with HIPAA and protect patients’ health information.

Continue Reading OCR to Waive Penalties for Telehealth Using Popular Communication Applications