Privacy Law and Regulation

The Equifax and Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandals, coupled with the proliferation of state privacy and security laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—as well as proposed laws in Washington and Massachusetts—have increased demand for a comprehensive national privacy law.  Last week, the Senate announced plans to hold hearings to discuss a proposed privacy law.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just released its report recommending that Congress develop comprehensive privacy legislation to enhance consumer protections.  Continue Reading Government Accountability Office Recommends Comprehensive Privacy Legislation

The Illinois Supreme Court held on January 25, 2019, that plaintiffs filing suit under the Biometric Information Privacy Act—which regulates how private entities disclose and discard biometric identifiers—do not need actual damages for standing. The decision has serious implications for companies collecting biometric data from Illinois residents.

The Act provides a private right of action to individuals “aggrieved” by any violation, allowing them to seek, among other remedies, liquidated or actual damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs. However, there has been widespread uncertainty as to whether an aggrieved individual asserting a private action under the Act needed to show that he or she suffered an actual injury as a result of an alleged violation, or if a violation of the Act in and of itself conveys standing. Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court: No ‘Actual Harm’ Required for Biometric Information Privacy Act Claims

The prevailing wisdom after last year’s enactment of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was that it would result in other states enacting consumer privacy legislation. The perceived inevitability of a “50-state solution to privacy” motivated businesses previously opposed to federal privacy legislation to push for its enactment. With state legislatures now convening, we have identified what could be the first such proposed legislation in New York Senate Bill 224.

The proposed legislation is not nearly as extensive as the CCPA and is perhaps more analogous to California’s Shine the Light Law. The proposed legislation would require a “business that retains a customer’s personal information [to] make available to the customer free of charge access to, or copies of, all of the customer’s personal information retained by the business.” It also would require businesses that disclose customer personal information to third parties to disclose certain information to customers about the third parties and the personal information that is shared. Businesses would have to provide this information within 30 days of a customer request and for a twelve-month lookback period. The rights also would have to be disclosed in online privacy notices. Notably, the bill would create a private right of action for violations of its provisions.

We will continue to monitor this legislation and any other proposed legislation.

As we turn the page on 2018, let’s reflect on some of the key privacy and cybersecurity issues that will continue to occupy our hearts and minds in 2019.

Owning the Mega-Breach

2018 was the year in which data breaches in mergers and acquisitions became the iceberg in full view. This fuller realization of cyber risk in transactions, though, actually has its origin in September 2016 – when Yahoo and Marriott were in the midst of deals that would involve some of the largest data breaches on record. Continue Reading Some Thoughts on the Year in Privacy and Data Security Law

Hold the date: Phil Yannella, Ballard Spahr partner and co-chair of the firm’s Privacy & Data Security Group, will participate in an ACC webcast on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 titled “The State of US State Privacy Laws.” The webcast will focus on the recent proliferation of US state privacy and data security laws, some of which provide for a private right of action, and discuss how companies can provide “reasonable” security to customer and employee data. You can register for the webcast here. 

 

For good reason, there has been much discussion about the new privacy rights created by the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), which becomes effective January 1, 2020. Perhaps one of the most significant provisions of the CCPA, though, will be one that has been somewhat overlooked: Section 1798.150, which provides for statutory damages of between $100 and $750 per consumer per incident for certain data breaches. Indeed, had California enacted Section 1798.150 alone, it would have garnered scores of articles on how its statutory damages remedy will likely lead to an explosion in “bet-the-company” private class action litigation over data breaches. The fact that it was enacted as just one provision in a first-in-the-nation privacy law has resulted in commentators spending less time analyzing its impact on businesses.

We will try to remedy this by taking a look at this provision and analyzing how it will apply to businesses covered by the CCPA. We begin by discussing existing California laws that are referenced in the CCPA’s private right of action. We then track the private right of action through its various forms, starting with the ballot measure and ending with its current version as reflected in Senate Bill 1121. Finally, we discuss how the private right of action likely will be used by private litigants and what steps businesses should take to avoid costly litigation. Continue Reading Analyzing the California Consumer Privacy Act’s Private Right of Action

Less than three months after California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1121 this week, making a number of technical and substantive changes to the law.

Of particular note: SB 1121 modifies the financial institution carve-out language in CCPA section 1798.145(e). While the change is a welcome development for entities subject to regulation under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), it does not grant full exemption from the CCPA. Therefore, GLBA-regulated entities that collect information online will need to analyze the CCPA’s requirements and how they apply to a specific business. Continue Reading GLBA and the California Privacy Act: Analyzing SB 1121’s Change to the Financial Institution Carve-Out Provision

Please join Ballard Spahr on October 4, 2018 in New York City for “Concordant Crossroads: Regulation and Innovation in the Automotive Industry,” presented by the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute. Co-chaired by Ballard Spahr partners Neal Walters and Philip N. Yannella, this conference offers a practical and robust examination of the disruption that autonomous technology and regulation pose to transportation and the automotive industry. Continue Reading Join Us at Concordant Crossroads: Regulation and Innovation in the Automotive Industry

On April 18, 2018, the Government of Canada published the final regulations relating to mandatory reporting of privacy breaches under Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). To date, most organizations under PIPEDA’s purview have not been subject to mandatory privacy breach notification requirements. While organizations in the United States are familiar with breach notification statutes, organizations both within and outside of Canada will need to pay careful attention to the new requirements imposed under PIPEDA and assess any changes that need to be made to ensure compliance when the final regulations go into effect on November 1, 2018. Continue Reading Mandatory Data Breach Notification in Canada: Understanding Your New Obligations

Thank you to everyone who attended our webinar on the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018.  For those who were unable to attend, you can listen to the recording here and obtain a copy of the slide deck here.  To access the recording, please fill in the requested information under “Register Now,” select “Yes, I will attend,” and click “Register.”