Archives: Information Management

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Connecticut Enacts Safe Harbor from Punitive Damages in Data Breach Cases

Effective October 1, 2021, Connecticut becomes the third state with a data breach litigation “safe harbor” law (Public Act No. 21-119), joining Utah and Ohio. In short, the Connecticut law prohibits courts in the state from assessing punitive damages in data breach litigation against a covered defendant that created, maintained, and complied with a cybersecurity … Continue Reading

DOL Has Started to Audit Compliance with Its Cybersecurity Guidelines

In April, we posted about the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issuing cybersecurity guidance for employee retirement plans. That is, April 14, 2021. Shortly thereafter, the DOL updated its audit inquiries to include probing questions for plan fiduciaries about their compliance with “hot off the press” agency guidelines. So, what do … Continue Reading

Colorado Becomes Third State To Enact a Comprehensive Privacy Law

Colorado is officially the third U.S. state to enact comprehensive privacy legislation, following California and Virginia. The Colorado General Assembly passed the Colorado Privacy Act (CPA), Senate Bill 21-109, on June 8, 2021, and Governor Jared Polis signed it into law on July 7, 2021. The Colorado Privacy Act takes effect July 1, 2023, six … Continue Reading

The “New” EU Standard Contractual Clauses: FAQs for U.S. Organizations

Globalization, compliance, and the growth in outsourcing have created a myriad of cross-border data transfer scenarios. These scenarios include marketing to and servicing customers, assessing global compliance with diversity and including goals, and outsourcing back office business functions. However, the emergence of far reaching data privacy regulation, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation … Continue Reading

Musings of Retirement Plan Fiduciaries on Cybersecurity: Episode One

By now, plan fiduciaries and their service providers likely have heard about the DOL’s cybersecurity guidance. The Department of Labor’s stepping into cybersecurity in this way – a posting of best practices on the agency’s website – has left plan fiduciaries with some questions. Here are a few: “When is this effective?” “Does this apply … Continue Reading

Biden Administration Issues Cybersecurity Executive Order Following Colonial Pipeline Cyberattack

On May 12, 2021, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order on “Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity” (EO). The EO was in the works prior to the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, reportedly a ransomware incident that snarled the flow of gas on the east coast for days. Ransomware attacks are nothing new, but they are increasing in … Continue Reading

NYC Council Passes Data Privacy Bill That Would Impose Rigorous Requirements On Owners of “Smart Access” Buildings

As we noted in our last post, there has been a flurry of data privacy and security activity in New York, with the State appearing poised to join California as a leader in this space.  Most recently, on April 29, 2021, the New York City Council passed the Tenant Data Privacy Act (“TDPA”), which would … Continue Reading

NYC Creates BIPA-Like Requirements for Retail, Hospitality Businesses Concerning Biometric Information Collected From Customers

Effective July 9, 2021, certain retail and hospitality businesses that collect and use “biometric identifier information” from customers will need to post conspicuous notices near all customer entrances to their facilities.  These businesses will also be barred from selling, leasing, trading, sharing or otherwise profiting from the biometric identifier information they collect from customers.  Customers … Continue Reading

Data Protection and the Role of Vendor Management

The SolarWinds hack highlights the critical need for organizations of all sizes to include cyber supply chain risk management as part of their information security program. It is also a reminder that privacy and security risks to an organization’s data can come from various vectors, including third party vendors and services providers. By way of … Continue Reading

CPRA Series: The CPRA and Risk Assessments

The California Privacy Protection Act (CPRA) amended the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and has an operative date of January 1, 2023. The CPRA introduces new compliance obligations including a requirement that businesses conduct risk assessments. While many U.S. companies currently conduct risk assessments for compliance with state “reasonable safeguards” statutes (e.g., Florida, Texas, Illinois, … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Cybersecurity Best Practices for ERISA Covered Retirement Plans

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued much anticipated cybersecurity guidance for employee retirement plans. This comes more than four and a half years after the ERISA Advisory Council, a 15-member body appointed by the Secretary of Labor to provide guidance on employee benefit plans, shared with the federal Department of … Continue Reading

Small NJ Medical Practice Becomes 18th Target of OCR’s HIPAA Right of Access Enforcement Initiative

A small New Jersey plastic surgery practice, Village Plastic Surgery (“VPS”), has become the eighteenth HIPAA covered entity to face an enforcement action under the Office for Civil Right’s HIPAA Right of Access Initiative. According to the OCR’s announcement, VPS agreed to a two-year corrective action plan and pay $30,000 to settle a potential HIPAA … Continue Reading

Comprehensive State Privacy Laws On the Move, How Should Organizations Evaluate Them?

Virginia may be the first state to follow California’s lead on consumer privacy legislation, but it certainly will not be the last. The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) observed, “State-Level momentum for comprehensive privacy bills is at an all-time high.” The IAPP maintains a map of state consumer privacy legislative activity, with in-depth analysis comparing key provisions. … Continue Reading

ACC Launches Data Steward Program: An Approach to Assessing Law Firm Data Security

On December 8th, the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), which represents over 45,000 in-house counsel across 85 countries, announced the launch of its Data Steward Program (DSP) to help organizations and their law firms assess and share information about information security relating to client data. The DSP is two years in the making, collecting input … Continue Reading

Want to Know if Your Employees Received the COVID-19 Vaccine? Some Best Practices to Consider

While its rollout has been slow, the vaccine is being administered across the U.S. and in other countries. As of January 15, 2021, nearly 36 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, just over 11 million in the U.S. For a variety of reasons, organizations want to know whether their workforce members (employees, … Continue Reading

New York Could Become the Next Hotbed of Class Action Litigation Over Biometric Privacy

Dubbed the “Biometric Privacy Act,” New York Assembly Bill 27 (“BPA”) is virtually identical to the Biometric Information Privacy Act in Illinois, 740 ILCS 14 et seq. (BIPA). Enacted in 2008, BIPA only recently triggered thousands of class actions in Illinois. If the BPA is enacted in New York, it likely will not take as … Continue Reading

DHS IG Report Raises Questions About Department’s and its Subcontractors’ Ability to Protect Biometric Information Following Breach

Earlier this month, our Immigration Group colleagues reported the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would release a new regulation to expand the collection of biometric data in the enforcement and administration of immigration laws. However, as reported by Roll Call, a DHS Inspector General report raised significant concerns about whether Department is able to adequately … Continue Reading

OCR is Serious About Patients’ Rights to Access Records, Announcing Enforcement Actions Against 5 Providers

When providers, health plans, business associates, and even patients and plan participants think of the HIPAA privacy and security rules (‘HIPAA Rules”), they seem to be more focused on the privacy and security aspects of the HIPAA Rules. That is, for example, safeguarding an individual’s protected health information (PHI) to avoid data breaches or avoiding … Continue Reading

Michigan Considers Enhanced Data Breach Notification Law

Privacy and security continue to be at the forefront for legislatures across the nation, despite (or perhaps because of) the COVID-19 pandemic.  In late May, with back-to-back amendments, Washington D.C. and Vermont significantly overhauled their data breach notification laws, including expansion of the definition of personal information, and heightened notice requirements.  Now, Michigan may follow … Continue Reading

HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates Need an IT Asset Inventory List, OCR Recommends

Last week, in its Cybersecurity Summer Newsletter, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) published best practices for creating an IT asset inventory list to assist healthcare providers and business associates in understanding where electronic protected health information (ePHI) is located within their organization, and improve HIPAA Security Rule compliance.  OCR investigations often find that organizations … Continue Reading

New Ransomware Tactics and Strains Emerge, Including Public Auctions of Stolen Data

As many have learned over the last several years, ransomware is a type of malware that denies affected users access to critical data by encrypting it. Attackers profit handsomely by requiring victims to pay substantial sums, typically tendered in a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. A look at some of the numbers over the past two … Continue Reading

OCR HIPAA Guidance For Getting PHI of COVID-19 Exposed Individuals to First Responders

With first responders on the front lines of helping to fight the coronavirus, sharing information about potential exposure to COVID-19 is critical to protecting them and preventing further spread. In these situations, the information shared is most often “protected health information” (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. … Continue Reading

Work-From-Home Checklist During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The debate over working from home continues, reaching a high point in 2013 when Marissa Mayer, then CEO of Yahoo, sought to curb the practice. However, as the Coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., more companies are instructing their employees to work-from-home as a social distancing technique to help contain the spread and remain … Continue Reading

CA Attorney General Updates CCPA Proposed Regulations

Many businesses and their service providers have been awaiting final guidance from the California Attorney General concerning the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). When news came last Friday of a regulatory update (“Update”), there may have been some initial disappointment that the Update did not announce final regulations, but only revisions to existing proposed regulations … Continue Reading
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