When the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) became law, it was only a matter of time before other states adopted their own statutes intending to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection for their residents. After overwhelming support in the state legislature, Connecticut is about to become the fifth state with a comprehensive privacy law, as SB 6 awaits signature by Governor Ned Lamont.

If signed, the “Act Concerning Personal Data Privacy and Online Monitoring” (Act) will take effect January 1, 2023, the same day as the Colorado Consumer Privacy Act.

Key Elements

As noted, the Act largely tracks the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) and has the following key elements:

  • Jurisdictional Scope. The Act would apply to persons that conduct business in Connecticut or that produce products or services that are targeted to residents of Connecticut and that during the preceding calendar year: (i) controlled or processed personal data of at least 75,000 consumers (under the VCDPA this threshold is at least 100,000 Virginians) or (ii) controlled or processed personal data of at least 25,000 consumers and derived over 25 percent of gross revenue from the sale of personal data (50 percent under the VCDPA).
  • Exemptions. The Act provides exemptions at two levels, the entity level and the data level. Entities exempted from the Act include (i) agencies, commissions, districts, etc. of the state or political subdivisions, (ii) nonprofits, (iii) higher education, (iv) national securities associations, (v) financial institutions or data subject to Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and (vi) hospitals as defined under Connecticut law. Note that the Act does not include a broad-based, entity-level  exemption for covered entities and business associates as defined under HIPAA.

The Act also exempts a long list of categories of information including protected health information under HIPAA and certain identifiable private information in connection with human subject research. The Act also exempts certain personal information under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and other laws. In general, exempt data also includes data processed or maintained (i) in the course of an individual applying to, employed by or acting as an agent or independent contractor to the extent that the data is collected and used within the context of that role, (ii) as emergency contact information, or (iii) that is necessary to retain to administer benefits for another individual relating to the individual in (i) above.

  • Personal Data. Similar to the CCPA and GDPR, the Act defines personal data broadly to include any information that is linked or reasonably linkable to an identified or identifiable individual, but excludes de-identified data or publicly available information. However, maintaining deidentified information is not without obligation under the Act. Controllers that maintain such information must take reasonable measures to ensure that the data cannot be reidentified. They must also publicly commit to maintaining and using de-identified data without attempting to reidentify it. Finally, the controller must contractually obligate any recipients of the de-identified data to comply with the Act.
  • Sensitive Data. Similar to the VCDPA, the Act includes a category for “sensitive data.” This is defined as (i) data revealing racial or ethnic origin, religious beliefs, mental or physical health condition or diagnosis, sex life, sexual orientation or citizenship or immigration status, (ii) the processing of genetic or biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying an individual, (iii) personal data collected from a known child, or (iv) precise geolocation data.  Notably, sensitive data cannot be processed without consumer consent. In the case of sensitive data of a known child, the data must be processed according to the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  Also, controllers must conduct and document a data protection assessment specifically for the processing of sensitive data.
  • Consumer. The Act defines “consumer” as “an individual who is a resident of” Connecticut. Consumers under the Act do not include individuals acting (i) in a commercial or employment context or (ii) as employee, owner, director, officer or contractor of certain entities including a government agency whose communications or transactions with the controller occur solely within the context of that individual’s role with that entity.
  • Consumer Rights. Consumers under the Act would be afforded the following personal data rights:
    • To confirm whether or not a controller is processing their personal data and to access such personal data;
    • To correct inaccuracies in their personal data, taking into account the nature of the personal data and the purposes of the processing of their personal data;
    • To delete personal data provided by or obtained about them;
    • To obtain a copy of their personal data processed by the controller, in a portable and, to the extent technically feasible, readily usable format that allows them to transmit the data to another controller without hindrance, where the processing is carried out by automated means and without revealing trade secrets; and
    • To opt out of the processing of the personal data for purposes of (i) targeted advertising, (ii) sale, or (iii) profiling in furtherance of decisions that produce legal or similarly significant effects concerning them.
  • Reasonable Data Security Requirement. The Act affirmatively requires controllers to establish, implement, and maintain reasonable administrative, technical and physical data security practices to protect the confidentiality, integrity and accessibility of personal data appropriate to the volume and nature of the personal data at issue.
  • Data Protection AssessmentsThe Act imposes a new requirement for controllers: conduct data protection assessments (as mentioned above regarding sensitive data). Controllers must conduct and document data protection assessments for specific processing activities involving personal data that present a heightened risk of harm to consumers. These activities include targeted advertising, sale of personal data, profiling, processing of sensitive data. Profiling activities will require a data protection assessment when it would present a reasonably foreseeable risk of (A) unfair or deceptive treatment of, or unlawful disparate impact on, consumers, (B) financial, physical or reputational injury to consumers, (C) a physical or other intrusion upon the solitude or seclusion, or the private affairs or concerns, of consumers, where such intrusion would be offensive to a reasonable person, or (D) other substantial injury to consumers. When conducting such assessments controllers must identify and weigh the benefits that may flow, directly and indirectly, from the processing to the controller, the consumer, other stakeholders, and the public against the potential risks to the rights of the consumer. Controllers also can consider how those risks are mitigated by safeguards that can be employed by the controller. Factors controllers must consider include the use of de-identified data and the reasonable expectations of consumers, as well as the context of the processing and the relationship between the controller and the consumer whose personal data will be processed.
  • Enforcement. The Connecticut Attorney General’s office would have exclusive enforcement over the Act. During the first eighteen months the Act is effective, until December 31, 2024, controllers would be provided notice of a violation and will have a 60-day cure period. After that, the opportunity to cure may be granted depending on the Attorney General’s assessment of factors such as the number of violations, the size of the controller or processor, the nature of the processing activities, among others. Violations of the Act constitute an unfair trade practice under Connecticut’s Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) law. Under the UDAP, violations are subject to civil penalties of up to $5,000, plus actual and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. The Act expressly excludes a private right of action.

Takeaway

Other states across the country are contemplating ways to enhance their data privacy and security protections. Organizations, regardless of their location, should be assessing and reviewing their data collection activities, building robust data protection programs, and investing in written information security programs.

Print:
Email this postTweet this postLike this postShare this post on LinkedIn
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.

Photo of Jason C. Gavejian Jason C. Gavejian

Jason C. Gavejian is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and co-leader of the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group. Jason is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) with the International Association of Privacy…

Jason C. Gavejian is a principal in the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and co-leader of the firm’s Privacy, Data and Cybersecurity practice group. Jason is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) with the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

As a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US), Jason focuses on the matrix of laws governing privacy, security, and management of data. Jason is co-editor of, and a regular contributor to, the firm’s Workplace Privacy, Data Management & Security Report blog.

Jason’s work in the area of privacy and data security includes counseling international, national, and regional companies on the vast array of privacy and security mandates, preventive measures, policies, procedures, and best practices. This includes, but is not limited to, the privacy and security requirements under state, federal, and international law (e.g., HIPAA/HITECH, GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), FTC Act, ECPA, SCA, GLBA etc.). Jason helps companies in all industries to assess information risk and security as part of the development and implementation of comprehensive data security safeguards including written information security programs (WISP). Additionally, Jason assists companies in analyzing issues related to: electronic communications, social media, electronic signatures (ESIGN/UETA), monitoring and recording (GPS, video, audio, etc.), biometrics, and bring your own device (BYOD) and company owned personally enabled device (COPE) programs, including policies and procedures to address same. He regularly advises clients on compliance issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and has represented clients in suits, including class actions, brought in various jurisdictions throughout the country under the TCPA.

Jason represents companies with respect to inquiries from the HHS/OCR, state attorneys general, and other agencies alleging wrongful disclosure of personal/protected information. He negotiates vendor agreements and other data privacy and security agreements, including business associate agreements. His work in the area of privacy and data security includes counseling and coaching clients through the process of investigating and responding to breaches of the personally identifiable information (PII) or protected health information (PHI) they maintain about consumers, customers, employees, patients, and others, while also assisting clients in implementing policies, practices, and procedures to prevent future data incidents.

Jason represents management exclusively in all aspects of employment litigation, including restrictive covenants, class-actions, harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and wage and hour claims in both federal and state courts. He regularly appears before administrative agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights, and the New Jersey Department of Labor. Jason’s practice also focuses on advising/counseling employers regarding daily workplace issues.

Jason’s litigation experience, coupled with his privacy practice, provides him with a unique view of many workplace issues and the impact privacy, data security, and social media may play in actual or threatened lawsuits.

Jason regularly provides training to both executives and employees and regularly speaks on current privacy, data security, monitoring, recording, BYOD/COPE, biometrics (BIPA), social media, TCPA, and information management issues. His views on these topics have been discussed in multiple publications, including the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle (SFGATE), National Law Review, Bloomberg BNA, Inc.com, @Law Magazine, Risk and Insurance Magazine, LXBN TV, Business Insurance Magazine, and HR.BLR.com.

Jason is the co-leader of Jackson Lewis’ Hispanic Attorney resource group, a group committed to increasing the firm’s visibility among Hispanic-American and other minority attorneys, as well as mentoring the firm’s attorneys to assist in their training and development. He also previously served on the National Leadership Committee of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and regularly volunteers his time for pro bono matters.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Jason served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Richard J. Donohue on the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County.