On July 1, 2015, Connecticut’s governor signed into law Public Act No. 15-142, An Act Improving Data Security and Agency Effectiveness (the “Act”), that (1) amends the state’s data breach notification law to require notice to affected individuals and the Connecticut Attorney General within 90 days of a security breach and expands the definition of personal information to include biometric data such as fingerprints, retina scans and voice prints; (2) affirmatively requires all businesses, including health insurers, who experience data breaches to offer one year of identity theft prevention services to affected individuals at no cost to them; and (3) requires health insurers and contractors who receive personal information from state agencies to implement and maintain minimum data security safeguards. With the passing of the Act, Connecticut becomes the first state to affirmatively require businesses to provide these security services to consumers.
On February 23, 2015, the Wyoming Senate approved a bill (S.F.36) that adds several data elements to the definition of “personal identifying information” in the state’s data breach notification statute. The amended definition will expand Wyoming’s breach notification law to cover certain online account access credentials, unique biometric data, health insurance information, medical information, birth and marriage certificates, certain shared secrets or security tokens used for authentication purposes, and individual taxpayer identification numbers. The Wyoming Senate also agreed with amendments proposed by the Wyoming House of Representatives to another bill (S.F.35) that adds content requirements to the notice that breached entities must send to affected Wyoming residents. Both bills are now headed to the Wyoming Governor Matt Mead for signing.
On December 29, 2014, the Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information of the German state Rhineland-Palatinate issued a press release stating that it imposed a fine of €1,300,000 on the insurance group Debeka. According to the Commissioner, Debeka was fined due to its lack of internal controls and its violations of data protection law. Debeka sales representatives allegedly bribed public sector employees during the eighties and nineties to obtain address data of employees who were on path to become civil servants. Debeka purportedly wanted this address data to market insurance contracts to these employees. The Commissioner asserted that the action against Debeka is intended to emphasize that companies must handle personal data in a compliant manner. The fine was accepted by Debeka to avoid lengthy court proceedings.
On November 12, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced that in response to FTC complaints, a federal court has ordered two debt brokerage companies to notify over 70,000 consumers whose sensitive personal information was posted on a public website by the debt brokerage companies.
On October 8, 2014, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted Cartoon Network, Inc.’s (“Cartoon Network’s”) motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging that Cartoon Network’s mobile app impermissibly disclosed users’ personally identifiable information (“PII”) to a third party data analytics company under the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”).
On October 30, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada extended the deadline for the province of Alberta to amend its Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”). In November 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada declared PIPA invalid because it interfered with the right to freedom of expression in the labor context under Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court of Canada gave the Alberta legislature 12 months to determine how to make the legislation constitutionally compliant, which it apparently failed to do. The new deadline for amending PIPA is May 2015.
On September 2, 2014, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) published a consultation on the framework criteria for selecting scheme providers for its privacy seal scheme. The consultation gives organizations the opportunity to provide recommendations for the framework criteria that will be used to assess the relevant schemes. The consultation is open until October 3, 2014.
On August 6, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had approved a safe harbor program submitted by the Internet Keep Safe Coalition (“iKeepSafe”), stating the program provides the “same or greater protections” for children under the age of 13 as those contained in the new Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (the “COPPA Rule”). An updated version of the COPPA Rule came into effect July 1, 2013.
On July 1, 2014, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed into law a bill that creates new safe destruction requirements for the disposal of business records containing consumer personal information. The new law requires commercial entities conducting business in Delaware to take reasonable steps to destroy their consumers’ “personal identifying information” prior to the disposal of electronic or paper records. The law will take effect on January 1, 2015.
On July 16, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission posted revisions to its Frequently Asked Questions that provide guidance on complying with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (the “COPPA Rule”). The revisions, which are in Section H of the FAQs, address the COPPA Rule requirement that operators of certain websites and online services obtain a parent’s consent before collecting personal information online from a child under the age of 13.