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Caleb Skeath advises clients on a broad range of privacy and data security issues, including regulatory inquiries from the Federal Trade Commission, data breach notification obligations, compliance with consumer protection laws, and state and federal laws regarding educational and financial privacy.

The Governor of Massachusetts recently signed House Bill No. 4806 into law, which will amend certain provisions of the state’s data breach notification law.  In addition to changing the information that must be included in notifications to regulators and individuals, the amendments will also require entities to provide eighteen months of free credit monitoring services following breaches involving Social Security numbers.  The amendments, which will enter into force on April 11, 2019, are discussed in greater detail below.
Continue Reading Massachusetts Amends Data Breach Notification Law to Require Free Credit Monitoring

Recent years have seen significant amounts of legislative activity related to state data breach notification laws, and 2018 was no exception.  Not only did South Dakota and Alabama enact new data breach notification laws in 2018, becoming the last of 50 U.S. states to enact such laws, but other states also enacted changes to existing data breach notification laws during 2018 to expand their scope and implement additional notification requirements.  Following up on our global year-end review of major privacy and cybersecurity developments, we’ve summarized the major developments and trends observed with regards to state data breach notification laws over the past year.
Continue Reading State Data Breach Notification Laws: 2018 in Review

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) released a final rule approving three new Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) standards which address supply chain risk management for bulk electric systems (“BES”) operations.  The new standards were developed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) in response to FERC Order No. 829, which directed NERC to create new CIP standards to address risks associated with the supply chain for grid-related cyber systems.  The final rule will take effect sixty days after it is published in the Federal Register.  The new standards must be implemented in eighteen months.  More details regarding the new CIP standards, which may be of interest to entities that develop, implement, or maintain hardware or software for industrial control systems associated with bulk electric systems (“BES”), are provided below.

Continue Reading FERC Approves New Cybersecurity Standards for Supply Chain Risk Management

This spring has seen significant legislative activity with regards to state data breach notification laws, ranging from new laws in Alabama and South Dakota to amendments to existing laws in Oregon, Arizona, and elsewhere.  Continuing this trend, three states recently passed legislation to amend their existing data breach notification laws.  Legislation recently passed in Colorado will require notification of affected individuals and the state Attorney General within 30 days, while recent amendments to Louisiana’s data breach notification law will expand the scope of personally identifiable information (“PII”) covered by the law.  In addition, Vermont recently passed legislation that will create specific data breach notification requirements for “data brokers.”  This post examines each state’s amendments in greater detail below.

Colorado

Through the passage of H.B. 1128, which takes effect on September 1, 2018, Colorado has broadened the definition of PII under its existing data breach notification law, in addition to requiring notification of the state Attorney General and imposing strict notification timelines.  Once the new provisions enter into force, covered entities will be required to notify affected individuals within 30 days of the determination that a breach has occurred.  Colorado joins Florida as the only states that have imposed a 30-day notification deadline for notice to individuals, although Colorado’s law, unlike Florida’s, will not include a provision that allows for an extension of this deadline under certain limited conditions.  In addition, Colorado’s amendments will require notification of the state Attorney General if a covered entity believes that more than 500 state residents have been affected by a breach.  As with individual notifications, the notification to the state Attorney General must be provided within 30 days  after the date of determination of a breach.

Continue Reading Colorado, Louisiana, and Vermont Add to Recent Trend of Changes to State Data Breach Notification Laws

Following the Equifax data breach in 2017, there has been heightened awareness surrounding how credit reporting agencies handle consumers’ personal information. At the same time, recent high-profile attacks, such as the “WannaCry” ransomware attacks, have focused media and regulatory attention on vulnerabilities associated with unpatched systems. In response to these two concerns, on January 10,

Earlier this year, the FTC’s staff released a series of blog posts entitled Stick with Security that updated and expanded upon the prior Start with Security best-practices guide for information security practices.  The Stick with Security series draws from FTC complaints, consent orders, closed investigations, and input from companies around the country to provide deeper insights into the ten principles articulated in the Start with Security guide.  These guidelines serve as a set of minimum recommended standards for “reasonable” data security practices by organizations with access to personal data (i.e. information related to consumers and employees), although they can be applied to other types of data as well.  The recommendations are not legal requirements, of course, but it can be useful for companies to consider the views of the FTC’s staff on the practices that are likely to be seen by the FTC as “reasonable.”  This post summarizes the recommendations made by the FTC’s staff in the Stick with Security series.
Continue Reading Key Information Security Pointers from the FTC’s Stick with Security Guidance

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Education announced plans to hold a joint workshop on the application of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) to educational technology products and services in the K-12 school environment.  In advance of the workshop, the FTC and Department of Education are soliciting comments on several key questions regarding COPPA and FERPA compliance for educational technology providers.  This is a valuable opportunity for Ed Tech providers to provide feedback to both agencies on the practical application of COPPA and FERPA in this arena.

Continue Reading FTC and Department of Education Announce Joint Workshop on FERPA and COPPA Compliance for Ed Tech

In the immediate aftermath of discovering a cybersecurity incident, companies often face many questions and few answers amidst a frenzy of activity.  What happened?  What should we do now?  What legal risks does the company face, and how should it protect against them?  In this fast-paced environment, it can be difficult to coordinate the activity across an incident response.  Well-intentioned actions by incident responders can easily expose the company to liability, regulator scrutiny, or a waiver of applicable legal privileges.

Instead of waiting to make critical incident response decisions in the “fog of war” that often occurs during the fast-paced events following the detection of a cybersecurity incident, organizations should think about how to respond before a cybersecurity incident actually occurs.  Responding to a cyberattack can involve a wide variety of different stakeholders such as IT and information security personnel, forensic analysts and investigators, legal counsel, communications advisors, and others.  Advance planning, including the development and execution of an incident response plan, allows a company to coordinate activities across a diverse array of different incident response work streams, and test that coordination.  Below, this post describes some key steps companies can take to respond to a cybersecurity incident in a swift, efficient, and effective manner.
Continue Reading Preparation and Practice: Keys to Responding to a Cyber Security Incident

Delaware Gov. John Carney has signed into law a bill that will impose more stringent obligations for notifying affected Delaware residents in the event of a data breach, in addition to establishing requirements for Delaware businesses to maintain “reasonable” data security practices.  In addition to expanding the types of information that would require notification of affected individuals if breached, the amendments will also require an entity to provide credit monitoring services if the breach involves Social Security numbers.  Once the bill enters into force, entities will also have to notify the Delaware Attorney General if a breach affects more than 500 Delaware residents.  The amendments will enter into force on approximately April 14, 2018.
Continue Reading Delaware Amends Data Breach Notification Law to Require Credit Monitoring, Attorney General Notification