Data Accountability and Trust Act

Less than one month into 2010 the trend to address data security, destruction, and encryption has continued among state lawmakers. Specifically, Florida, Michigan, Kentucky, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and New York all have introduced, reintroduced, or amended legislation of this kind. 

  • The Florida and Michigan laws would amend personal data destruction rules for companies.
  • The New York law would mandate data security and encryption measures.
  • The Kentucky bill would require government agencies to protect all personal data under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
  • The Michigan bill includes a state version of the Federal Trade Commission’s Red Flags Rule and would require creditors in the state to implement programs aimed at spotting “red flags” of possible identity theft and put in place mitigation measures. Michigan is also considering a number of other measures. 
  • The Kansas law would require state agencies to engage in periodic network security reviews.
  • The Pennsylvania bill would require public agencies to notify state residents of a breach of their personal information within seven days of the discovery of the breach.

While 5 states remain without data breach notice bills (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, and South Dakota), Congress is considering legislation, the Data Accountability and Trust Act (DATA) (H.R. 2221), that would preempt all state notification laws and instead establish a national breach notice standard.

As we have previously mentioned, we anticipate data privacy and security legislation and case law to be at the forefront of legal issues in 2010. Employers should begin by reading the Data Security Primer and consider implementing comprehensive data security policies and procedures that would allow them to comply with the various state laws that may impact their business. Continue Reading Data Security, Destruction and Encryption Leads the Way for States in 2010

As passed by the House of Representatives on December 8, 2009, the Data Accountability and Trust Act would create federal data security standards, a national breach notification requirement, data destruction mandates, and special requirements for "information brokers." 

Thumbnail for version as of 23:34, 16 January 2008The Act will now move to the Senate, where it likely will be considered together with recent bills from various Senate Committees, two such bills we discussed in a recent post.

The Act would apply to each person engaged in interstate commerce that owns or possesses data in electronic form containing personal information (or contracts to have any third party entity maintain such data). In short, most businesses in the United States would be subject to the Act and required to establish and implement data security policies and procedures. Like other data security regulations, the Act would permit covered persons, when developing their policies and procedures, to take into account:

  • the size of, and the nature, scope, and complexity of the activities engaged in by, such person;
  • the current state of the art in administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for protecting such information; and
  • the cost of implementing such safeguards.

These new standards will be regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Violations of the Act would be enforced primarily by state Attorneys General, although the FTC maintains a right to intervene in those actions. Penalties can be substantial. For example, in the case of a violation of the breach notification requirement, the penalty amount would be calculated by multiplying the number of violations by an amount not greater than $11,000. Each failure to send notification would be treated as a separate violation, with a maximum civil penalty of $5,000,000.

Of course, it will be some time before the Act would become effective, if at all, and it may be substantially modified prior to enactment. Still, recent actions by Congress (for example the enhancements to HIPAA under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) and the states suggest a national standard for protecting personal information is only a matter of time. Companies should be gearing up to deal with these emerging information risks.Continue Reading House of Representatives Passes the Data Accountability and Trust Act