Illinois Governor Pat Quinn approved a measure on August 22, 2011, amending his state’s data breach notification law. The changes, which become effective January 1, 2012, are designed to increase protections for Illinois residents in the following ways:

New information that must be included in breach notifications:

  • the toll-free numbers and addresses for consumer reporting agencies,
  • the toll-free number, address, and website address for the Federal Trade Commission, and
  • a statement that the individual can obtain information from these sources about fraud alerts and security freezes.

Information that may not be included in breach notifications:

  • information concerning the number of Illinois residents affected by the breach.


New requirements for "data collectors" that maintain or store, but do not own or license, computerized data:

As with most breach notification statutes, entities that maintain or store certain personal information on behalf of the owner or licensee of that data also have obligations in the event of a breach of the security of that data. Generally, the obligation is to notify the owner of the breach. So, for example, a third party claims administrator or an accounting firm might perform services for ABC Corp. (the owner) requiring the administrator or accounting firm to maintain or store the personal information. If an employee of the administrator or accounting firm loses a laptop containing ABC Corp.’s personal information, or the employee or some third party impermissibly accesses or acquires the information, the administrator or accounting firm would be required to notify ABC Corp. which, in turn, would need to notify the affected individuals.  

As amended, Illinois’ breach notification law requires companies that maintain or store personal information to cooperate with the owner or licensee in matters relating to the breach, by notifying the owner or licensee of: 

  • the date or approximate date of the breach and the nature of the breach, and
  • any steps the entity has taken or plans to take relating to the breach.

However, this cooperation shall not require either (i) the disclosure of confidential business information or trade secrets of the company that maintains or stores the information, or (ii) the notification of an Illinois resident who may have been affected by the breach.

New Mandates for Disposing of Materials Containing Personal Information 

The amended law requires "persons" (including natural persons, corporations, partnerships, associations, or other legal entities, including governmental entities) to dispose of the materials containing personal information "in a manner that renders the personal information unreadable, unusable, and undecipherable." The law provides examples of proper disposal methods: 

  • Paper documents containing personal information may be either redacted, burned, pulverized, or shredded so that personal information cannot practicably be read or reconstructed.
  • Electronic media and other non-paper media containing personal information may be destroyed or erased so that personal information cannot practicably be read or reconstructed.

Companies may engage third parties to carry out the disposal of personal information, provided that third parties performing these services must implement and monitor compliance with policies and procedures that prohibit unauthorized access to or acquisition of or use of personal information during the collection, transportation, and disposal of materials containing personal information. It is recommended that service contracts be carefully drafted to address these issues and appropriate steps be taken to monitor compliance.

Penalties for violations of the disposal requirements can be up to $100 for each individual with respect to whom personal information is disposed, subject to a maximum penalty of $50,000 for each instance of improper disposal.

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Photo of Joseph J. Lazzarotti Joseph J. Lazzarotti

Joseph J. Lazzarotti is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He founded and currently co-leads the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group, edits the firm’s Privacy Blog, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP)…

Joseph J. Lazzarotti is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He founded and currently co-leads the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group, edits the firm’s Privacy Blog, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) with the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Trained as an employee benefits lawyer, focused on compliance, Joe also is a member of the firm’s Employee Benefits practice group.

In short, his practice focuses on the matrix of laws governing the privacy, security, and management of data, as well as the impact and regulation of social media. He also counsels companies on compliance, fiduciary, taxation, and administrative matters with respect to employee benefit plans.

Privacy and cybersecurity experience – Joe counsels multinational, national and regional companies in all industries on the broad array of laws, regulations, best practices, and preventive safeguards. The following are examples of areas of focus in his practice:

  • Advising health care providers, business associates, and group health plan sponsors concerning HIPAA/HITECH compliance, including risk assessments, policies and procedures, incident response plan development, vendor assessment and management programs, and training.
  • Coached hundreds of companies through the investigation, remediation, notification, and overall response to data breaches of all kinds – PHI, PII, payment card, etc.
  • Helping organizations address questions about the application, implementation, and overall compliance with European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and, in particular, its implications in the U.S., together with preparing for the California Consumer Privacy Act.
  • Working with organizations to develop and implement video, audio, and data-driven monitoring and surveillance programs. For instance, in the transportation and related industries, Joe has worked with numerous clients on fleet management programs involving the use of telematics, dash-cams, event data recorders (EDR), and related technologies. He also has advised many clients in the use of biometrics including with regard to consent, data security, and retention issues under BIPA and other laws.
  • Assisting clients with growing state data security mandates to safeguard personal information, including steering clients through detailed risk assessments and converting those assessments into practical “best practice” risk management solutions, including written information security programs (WISPs). Related work includes compliance advice concerning FTC Act, Regulation S-P, GLBA, and New York Reg. 500.
  • Advising clients about best practices for electronic communications, including in social media, as well as when communicating under a “bring your own device” (BYOD) or “company owned personally enabled device” (COPE) environment.
  • Conducting various levels of privacy and data security training for executives and employees
  • Supports organizations through mergers, acquisitions, and reorganizations with regard to the handling of employee and customer data, and the safeguarding of that data during the transaction.
  • Representing organizations in matters involving inquiries into privacy and data security compliance before federal and state agencies including the HHS Office of Civil Rights, Federal Trade Commission, and various state Attorneys General.

Benefits counseling experience – Joe’s work in the benefits counseling area covers many areas of employee benefits law. Below are some examples of that work:

  • As part of the Firm’s Health Care Reform Team, he advises employers and plan sponsors regarding the establishment, administration and operation of fully insured and self-funded health and welfare plans to comply with ERISA, IRC, ACA/PPACA, HIPAA, COBRA, ADA, GINA, and other related laws.
  • Guiding clients through the selection of plan service providers, along with negotiating service agreements with vendors to address plan compliance and operations, while leveraging data security experience to ensure plan data is safeguarded.
  • Counsels plan sponsors on day-to-day compliance and administrative issues affecting plans.
  • Assists in the design and drafting of benefit plan documents, including severance and fringe benefit plans.
  • Advises plan sponsors concerning employee benefit plan operation, administration and correcting errors in operation.

Joe speaks and writes regularly on current employee benefits and data privacy and cybersecurity topics and his work has been published in leading business and legal journals and media outlets, such as The Washington Post, Inside Counsel, Bloomberg, The National Law Journal, Financial Times, Business Insurance, HR Magazine and NPR, as well as the ABA Journal, The American Lawyer, Law360, Bender’s Labor and Employment Bulletin, the Australian Privacy Law Bulletin and the Privacy, and Data Security Law Journal.

Joe served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Laura Denvir Stith on the Missouri Court of Appeals.