Archives: Data Security

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Data Breach in Georgia Affecting Six Million Voters Adds to 2015 National Tally

The Georgia Secretary of State acknowledged that last month his office improperly disclosed social security numbers and other private information for more than 6,000,000 registered voters in Atlanta due to a “clerical error.” Anyone in Georgia who is registered to vote (approximately 6.2M citizens) may be affected. The Secretary acknowledged that his office shares voter … Continue Reading

FCC Data Security Enforcement Continues

Demonstrating its continued commitment to data security enforcement, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced Cox Communications Inc., the nation’s third largest cable operator, agreed to pay $595,000 to resolve an investigation into whether the company failed to properly protect its customers’ personal information.  The agreement ends the first data security enforcement action brought by the FCC against … Continue Reading

Senate Passes Cybersecurity Law as the Struggle Between Data Security and Privacy Continues

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act or CISA passed the Senate this week by vote of 74-21, but not without controversy. CISA would not establish a generally applicable federal standard for safeguarding personal information, nor would it enact a federal breach notification requirement. Rather, if signed into law, CISA would among other things create a framework … Continue Reading

Changes to California’s Data Breach Notification Requirements

On October 6, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed three new laws which substantially alter and expand the state’s security breach notification requirements. The new changes to California Civil Code sections 1798.29 and 1798.82, the Golden State’s laws that require notifications by state agencies and private sector entities of certain breaches of security (i) provide … Continue Reading

HIPAA Phase 2 Audits to Start in Early 2016, OCR States In Response to OIG Recommendations

Responding to a Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) report recommending stronger oversight of covered entities’ compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) stated that in early 2016 it will launch Phase 2 of its audit program measuring compliance with HIPAA’s privacy, security and breach … Continue Reading

Wearables, Wellness and Privacy

Bloomberg BNA (subscription) recently reported that this fall the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) will be issuing a report on Fitbit Inc.’s privacy practices. Avid runners, walkers or those up on the latest gadgets likely know about Fitbit, and its line of wearable fitness devices. Others may know about Fitbit due to the need … Continue Reading

HIPAA Audits Maybe, But Audit Preparedness Definitely!

According to a Bloomberg article, the second phase of HIPAA audits by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), originally set to commence in 2014, may be coming soon. This update came at a HIPAA conference co-hosted by OCR during which OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels said the agency was in the process of confirming contact information of … Continue Reading

DoD Issues Interim Rule For Contractors on Incident Reporting and Cloud Computing Services

Government contractors have a wide range of unique challenges (find out more about these here), not the least of which is data security. A good example is the interim rule the Department of Defense (DoD) issued last month that implements sections of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2013 and 2015. In short, … Continue Reading

Cancer Care Group to Pay $750,000 to Settle HIPAA Breach, as KPMG Finds 81 Percent of Hospitals and Health Insurance Companies had a Breach in the Past Two Years

On September 2, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reported that it agreed to settle potential violations of the HIPAA privacy and security regulations with Cancer Care Group, Inc. The dollar amount of the settlement, $750,000, is significant, and the agreement to adopt a robust, multi-year corrective action plan under the watchful eye of the … Continue Reading

Credit Monitoring Services Following Data Breach NOT Taxable Income to Employees, IRS Announces

When an employer is responding to a breach of their employees’ personal information, one of the last things they may think about is whether the value of the credit monitoring or other identity protection services they make available to affected employees should be considered taxable to the employees and reported as such. In Announcement 2015-22, the … Continue Reading

Nevada Updated Its Definition of Personal Information, Have You?

When businesses set out to safeguard “personal information,” a fundamental consideration is what that term means. Likewise, when negotiating a third-party vendor agreement, it typically is not enough to rely on the standard definition for “confidential information.” Recently, Nevada and other states have updated their definitions of personal information in connection data breaches notification and … Continue Reading

The Hololens From Microsoft – Help Can Be Right Under…Over Your Nose

The saying – never let them see you sweat – soon may be more difficult to accomplish with Microsoft’s Hololens. Like Google Glass, the Hololens is worn as a headset. But this device has a “plurality” of sensors that gather a range of biometrics parameters (heart rate, perspiration, etc.) which determine along with other information … Continue Reading

Connecticut State Contractors, Health Insurance Industry Businesses Subject to Enhanced Significant Data Security Mandates

In June, Connecticut’s governor signed into law Senate Bill 949 which amended the State’s breach notification statute. The requirement that covered businesses must provide one year of identity theft protection services for certain breaches, easily the most popular aspect of the legislation, may have diverted attention from some significant aspects of this new law. Senate Bill … Continue Reading

FCC Settles First Data Security Action

UPDATE:  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reached a settlement with two telecom companies in connection with allegations the telecom companies violated the law regarding the privacy of phone customers’ personal information. As we previously reported and discussed, in October 2014 the FCC initiated its first data security case against TerraCom, Inc. and YourTel America, … Continue Reading

State Attorneys General Tell Congress – Don’t Preempt Our Breach Notification Laws!

In the wake of recent, large-scale data breaches, one being the breach at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) affecting millions of federal employees, a number of bills have been battling their way through Congress to address breach notification and data security requirements at the federal level. There has been an ongoing pattern for years … Continue Reading

Connecticut Enacts SB 949 Requiring One Year of Free Identity Theft Protection Services For Certain Data Breaches

Senate Bill 949 is now law in Connecticut, after being signed by Governor Malloy on June 11. As we reported, this law amends the state’s current breach notification mandate to require that for breaches of certain personal information covered business must provide one year of free identity-theft protection for affected persons. So, beginning October 1, 2015, … Continue Reading

Connecticut May Require Businesses to Offer One Year of Identity Theft Protection Services Following a Data Breach, Joining Other States in Strengthening Notification Laws

Following a string of states across the country that have strengthened their data breach notification laws in recent months, Connecticut is about to amend its law to require, among other things, that businesses provide one year of identity-theft protection for persons affected by the breach. Many businesses already extend such services to breach victims, but, … Continue Reading

Will Your Cyber/Breach Insurance Be There When You Need It?

The answer to this question may depend on the actions that the insured takes when it applies for coverage and during the period the policy is in force. The demand for cyberinsurance that is intended to cover exposures from data breaches, among other things, has exploded in recent years, reports The Hill. This is due in large part … Continue Reading

SEC’s Division of Investment Management Issues Cybersecurity Guidance

In Guidance Update No. 2015-02, the Division of Investment Management (Division) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued some high-level suggestions concerning the importance of cybersecurity for registered investment companies and registered investment advisers. The guidance outlines a number of measures these entities should consider for addressing cybersecurity risks. Of course, while some of these and other measures may have … Continue Reading

EEOC Wellness Program Regulations Offer Best Practices for Medical Record Confidentiality

As reported on our Benefits Law Advisor, the EEOC has issued proposed wellness program regulations. Much of the attention to those proposed rules understandably will be how they would affect the incentives employers have implemented to spur their employees to engage in healthier behaviors. The proposed rules also address, however, the confidentiality provisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act … Continue Reading

Next Step in U.S. Postal Service Breach – NLRB Sues Postal Service

As discussed in an earlier post, shortly after the United States Postal Service reported a data breach potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of  employees, the American Postal Workers Union filed an unfair labor practice with the National Labor Relations Board alleging the Postal Service should have bargained with the union over the impact and response to the … Continue Reading

Alabama Seeks To Become 48th State To Enact Breach Legislation

Alabama recently introduced a bill (S.B. 106) which would require notification in the event of a breach affecting the personal information of an Alabama resident.  While 47 states currently have laws requiring breach notification — most recently joined by Kentucky — New Mexico, South Dakota, and Alabama are the only states that do not. Notably, the proposed … Continue Reading

Employee Apps = Employer Data Risk?

Many mobile app developers do not place a high priority on data security, as illustrated by a recent IBM/Ponemon study: Fifty percent of mobile app developers have no budget for security. Forty percent of companies don’t scan mobile app codes for vulnerabilities. The average company tests less than half of the apps it builds for … Continue Reading

The Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015

On March 25, 2015, the United States House of Representative, Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade approved draft legislation which would replace state data breach notification laws with a national standard.  This draft legislation comes on the heels of the President’s call for a national data breach notification law.  The proposed legislation is … Continue Reading