Archives: Information Risk

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Hacked Healthcare Provider Refuses to Pay Ransom, Attackers Target Psychotherapy Patients

Earlier this year, we reported on an evolution in the form of cyberattack known as ransomware –attackers transitioning from denying affected users access to critical data by encrypting it to removing data from the compromised systems and threatening public release in exchange for payment. These attacks typically target the companies maintaining the data. However, attackers … Continue Reading

The CCPA’s “B2B” Exemption Is Also Extended by Governor Newsom

By signing AB 1281 into law on September 29th, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom amended the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) to extend until January 1, 2022, not only the current exemption on employee personal information from most of the CCPA’s protections, but also the so-called “B2B” exemption. Welcomed by many “B2B” (business to business) … Continue Reading

House Passes Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act

The House of Representatives recently passed the Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020 (the Act).  The Act has been moved to the Senate for consideration. The legislation sets minimum security standards for all IoT devices purchased by government agencies. IoT refers to the myriad of physical devices that are connected to the … Continue Reading

Indiana AG Proposed Regulations Creating Corrective Action Plan Requirement and Cybersecurity Safe Harbor

A proposal by Indiana’s Attorney General Curtis Hill on Wednesday would add a significant step in the incident response process for responding to breaches of security affecting Indiana residents. On Wednesday, during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce virtual event, he announced his proposed rule designed to better protect Hoosiers from cyberattacks. It is expected that … 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

National Biometric Information Privacy Act, Proposed by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders

Whether it is facial recognition technology being used in connection with COVID-19 screening tools and in law enforcement, continued use of fingerprint-based time management systems, or the use of various biometric identifiers for physical security and access management, applications involving biometric identifiers and information in the public and private sectors continue to grow. Concerns about … Continue Reading

Is Personal Information of Retirement Plan Participants an ERISA Plan Asset?

A little more than one year ago, we reported on a settlement (Cassell et al. v. Vanderbilt University, et al.) involving the alleged wrongful use of personal information belonging to retirement plan participants, claimed to be “plan assets.” This year, similar claims have been made against Shell Oil Company in connection with its 401(k) plan. Retirement … 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

Out of Sight is Not Out of Mind – Monitoring Workers Working From Home

Just over a month ago, we provided a high-level checklist to help organizations think about critical issues as employees begin working from home to reduce the spread of COVID19. Consistent with “shelter-in-place”/”stay at home” orders, millions of workers that can are now working from home. However, out of sight is not out mind as many … Continue Reading

More OCR Guidance on COVID-19 and HIPAA Relief – Business Associates

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has been moving swiftly to provide guidance on addressing key regulatory issues to aid in the fight to contain and defeat COVID-19. Some of the latest developments include exercising its enforcement discretion on certain good faith disclosures of protected health information (PHI) by business associates, adding FAQs for telehealth … Continue Reading

HIPAA Privacy Rule Waiver, Other Medical Information Questions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the coronavirus spreads across the globe and in the United States, providers, businesses, employers, and others are struggling to understand what medical information they can collect and what information they can share. These are difficult questions the answers to which involve considering factors such as long-standing compliance requirements (e.g., HIPAA, ADA, GINA, state law), … 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

New York SHIELD Act FAQs

Over the past few months, businesses across the country have been focused on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which dramatically expands privacy rights for California residents and provides a strong incentive for businesses to implement reasonable safeguards to protect personal information. That focus is turning back east as the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic … Continue Reading

What Does Phishing Have to do with Coronavirus?

As announcements relaying the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue daily, governmental agencies at all levels are offering information and guidance, and businesses are scrambling to prepare and protect their employees and customers. As part of a larger group in my firm helping to synthesize all this information, there is an aspect of responding to COVID-19 … Continue Reading

New York Adopts New Data Security and Privacy Regulations for Schools and Their Vendors

We observed in a post on this blog that government agencies, businesses, hospitals, universities and school districts are frequent targets of data breaches that can affect millions of individuals.   Cyberattacks on school districts continue to appear in the news. In January, students in the Pittsburg Unified School District (California) were left without internet access as … 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

CCPA Data Breach Class Action Litigation Begins

As reported by Bloomberg Law, data breach class action litigation has begun under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Filed in the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, a putative class action lawsuit against Hanna Andersson, LLC and its ecommerce platform provider, Salesforce.com, alleges negligence and a failure to maintain reasonable safeguards, among other … Continue Reading

Health Plan Sponsors – Have You Updated Your Vendor Agreements for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Confidentiality Regulations?

Employers that sponsor group health plans (medical, dental, vision, HFSA) are used to negotiating detailed administrative services agreements with vendors that provide services to those plans. Many also are familiar with “business associate agreements” required under HIPAA that must be in place with certain vendors, such as third-party claims administrators (TPAs), wellness program vendors, benefits … Continue Reading

Privacy & Cybersecurity Issues to Watch in 2020

2020 may very well be the most impactful year for data privacy and cybersecurity in the United States. In honor of Data Privacy Day, we discuss some of the reasons why that may be the case. In short, as privacy and cybersecurity risks continue to emerge for organizations large and small, the law is beginning … Continue Reading

Coronavirus Raises Privacy Concerns for Healthcare Providers and their Workers

The outbreak of a new coronavirus that is believed to have began in central Chinese city of Wuhan and now appears to be spreading to the United States is driving concerns for organizations around preparedness regarding their operations, their customers, and their employees. Both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State … Continue Reading

Websites: A Growing Compliance Concern – CCPA, HIPAA, Accessibility, State Laws…

Websites play a vital role for organizations. They facilitate communication with consumers, constituents, patients, employees, and the general public. They project an organization’s image and promote goodwill, provide information about products and services and allow for their purchase. Websites also inform investors about performance, enable job seekers to view and apply for open positions, and … Continue Reading

Personal Information, Private Information, Personally Identifiable Information…What’s the Difference?

When privacy geeks talk “privacy,” it is not uncommon for them to use certain terms interchangeably –personal data, personal information, personally identifiable information, private information, individually identifiable information, protected health information, or individually identifiable health information. They might even speak in acronyms – PI, PII, PHI, NPI, etc. Blurring those distinctions might be OK for … Continue Reading

Professional Tax Preparers – You Need A Written Information Security Plan, Says the IRS and FTC

Tax season soon will soon be upon us and many not-so-eager taxpayers will share sensitive personal information about themselves, their dependents, their employees, and others with their trusted professional tax preparers for processing. What many of these preparers might not realize is that federal law and a growing number of state laws obligate them to … Continue Reading
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