As we reported, there are a number of signs pointing to a significant tightening of regulation and increased enforcement of data security mandates. Following efforts in New Jersey, New York and Oregon, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced his office is seeking legislation that would better protect the online personal and financial information of Indiana residents. Indiana State Sen. Jim Merritt plans to sponsor the legislation during the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly.

The Attorney General proposes a three-pronged approach to increasing security – (i) stricter requirements for the safe storage of sensitive data, (ii) reducing harm to consumers following a data breach, and (iii) increasing transparency of online privacy policies. In proposing stricter requirements for storing sensitive data, Attorney General Zoeller’s approach would include a requirement to delete and not retain the data beyond what is necessary for business purposes. Effective and efficient record retention and destruction policies and procedures present significant challenges for businesses, but as new laws like this emerge, companies will need to get better about keeping only what they need, and making sure what is deleted is really deleted.  The proposal also includes requirements for businesses to share or sell information only when authorized by law or when consumers are informed in advance, and to inform consumers by conspicuous notice when data must be collected and how long it will be stored.

The Hoosier state already has a data breach notification law, however, the Attorney General wants to make notice under the law more timely and informative. Additionally, his proposal would extend the notification mandate to breaches of paper and handwritten records. Like the breach notification laws in many other states, the Indiana law applies only to electronically generated or computerized records.

If the third item in the proposal becomes law, Indiana would join California in requiring website operators and online entities that collect personal or financial information from state residents to conspicuously post their privacy policies online. The policies would need to identify what personal information the site collects from site visitors and whether the operator of the site shares or sells any of that information, and with whom.

We will be following this and other developments of this kind in the year ahead. However, we recommend businesses be more proactive in taking steps to safeguard and management personal information. These steps should go beyond the IT department and include administrative and physical safeguards to protect data in all forms, including paper documents. Additionally, data security is only one of a number of important reasons for a rigorous record retention and destruction policy. These include the development of more efficient data management practices, keeping data storage costs down, and controlling e-discovery costs.

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Photo of Joseph J. Lazzarotti Joseph J. Lazzarotti

Joseph J. Lazzarotti is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He founded and currently leads the firm’s Privacy, e-Communication and Data Security Practice, edits the firm’s Privacy Blog, and is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) with…

Joseph J. Lazzarotti is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He founded and currently leads the firm’s Privacy, e-Communication and Data Security Practice, 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, Mr. Lazzarotti 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 – Mr. Lazzarotti 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 – Mr. Lazzarotti’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.

Mr. Lazzarotti 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.

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