Earlier this year in United States v. Jones, the United State Supreme Court addressed the privacy implications of Global Positioning Systems (“GPS”), holding that placing a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s car was a “search” under the Fourth Amendment. Though a growing number of employers are using GPS systems to track employee activity on the job, the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision in the private sector remains unclear.
Did you know there are breach notification obligations in all 50 states (effective 9/2012), even though only 46 states have adopted them? How could that be, you ask? Because Texas said so. (Does that surprise you?)
Texas recently amended its breach notification law so that its consumer notification obligations apply not only to residents of Texas, but to any individual whose sensitive personal information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, acquired by an unauthorized person. Texas’s amended law (H.B. 300) specifically requires notification of data breaches to residents of states that have not enacted their own law requiring such notification (that is, Alabama, Kentucky, New Mexico and South Dakota).
Missouri: HB 62 includes many provisions that are similar to other state laws requiring notice to individuals when the security of their personal information has been compromised. For example, HB 62 includes a “material risk of harm” trigger. In other words, a business is not required to notify Missouri residents if, after an appropriate investigation or consultation with relevant law enforcement authorities, the business determines that identity theft is not likely to result from the breach. In addition, a business is not required to notify state residents if the personal information compromised was encrypted. Like some other state laws, HB 62 also requires notice to the Missouri Attorney General and national consumer reporting agencies if more than 1,000 Missouri residents are notified, and allows the Attorney General to seek actual damages or civil penalties from persons that fail to comply with the law.
In December 2007, Texas became the first state to file COPPA enforcement actions, by separately suing the entities behind Gamesradar.com and TheDollPalace.com in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. The complaints are available as an attachment to the press release on the Texas Attorney General’s website. The defendants in those cases are California and New York – and not Texas – entities.
On May 9, 2008, Iowa Governor Chester Culver signed legislation (SF 2308) requiring any person who owns or licenses computerized data that includes a consumer’s personal information to give notice of a breach of security. The law does not require notification if, after an appropriate investigation or after consultation with the relevant federal, state, or local agencies responsible for law enforcement, the person determined that no reasonable likelihood of financial harm to the consumers whose personal information has been acquired has resulted or will result from the breach. Following is an updated list of the 43 state security breach notification laws (plus District of Columbia and Puerto Rico).
Lawmakers in six states have responded quickly to the massive data breach at TJX Companies, Inc. with various bills designed to strengthen merchant security and/or render companies liable for third party companies’ costs arising from data breaches. These latest bills – introduced in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas – represent a new front of state legislative activity to regulate privacy and data security and expand requirements beyond the current data breach notification and data security laws that many states have enacted in recent years. To date, Minnesota is the only state to enact such legislation, which was signed into law by its Governor on May 21, 2007.