The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights is taking an aggressive stand on HIPAA enforcement and targeting violations related to security risk assessments and business associate agreements. Three resolution agreements posted in the last month make clear that the agency expects entities subject to HIPAA to take appropriate steps to secure their data, regardless of the size or type of the entity.
The Department of Health and Human Services released guidance on July 11, 2016, intended to help the healthcare industry prepare for and respond to ransomware attacks. Specifically, this guidance clarifies: (1) that a ransomware attack is considered a “security incident” under HIPAA, and (2) that a ransomware attack will typically be considered a “breach” by HHS unless entities are able to demonstrate that there is a “low probability of compromise.” The guidance also clarifies that covered entities must implement the same risk assessment processes as they would with other types of cyber threats, including malware. At a time when ransomware attacks are on the rise, this guidance heightens the potential regulatory enforcement consequences of these events.
Part 12 of Future-Proofing Privacy: Security is a Critical Piece. Security is a critical piece of the data protection jigsaw. Lack of consumer confidence has been identified as a key risk for the development of the digital single market, and a series of high profile breaches has exacerbated the situation. So it was inevitable that data protection reform would need to demonstrate that regulators were serious about data security and the Regulation does this by introducing three critical changes: obligations to have appropriate security in place will apply directly to data processors for the first time; there will be mandatory reporting of data breaches to data protection authorities; and there will also be mandatory reporting of data breaches to data subjects in certain situations.
It has finally happened. Like that train you are waiting for that keeps getting delayed but eventually arrives. The all-powerful trio comprising the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission arrived at their destination after a journey of four years, and on December 15th, 2015, agreed the final text of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Once formally adopted in the coming weeks, the GDPR will create a completely new legal framework for the collection, use and sharing of personal information that will apply well beyond Europe.
The status of consumer data security law in the United States is at a crossroads. Last week, the White House released a discussion draft of its Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015, which would require businesses collecting personal information to maintain safeguards reasonably designed to ensure the security of that information. And yesterday, the Third Circuit held oral argument in FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., in which the district court last April denied Wyndham’s challenge to the Federal Trade Commission’s data security enforcement efforts.
Today, the President spoke at the Federal Trade Commission on the importance of preventing identity theft and improving consumer and student privacy. Today’s speech has been billed as a first look at a broader White House policy initiative on cybersecurity, identity theft, and privacy that will continue this week and will be included in the President’s State of the Union address to Congress on January 20th. Tomorrow, the President will highlight the work of the Department of Homeland Security and the importance of public-private collaboration on cyber threats and is expected to release policy proposals over the coming weeks.
Is data security legislation coming to a state near you? With data breaches continuing to make the headlines, 60 Minutes reporting that breaches are inevitable and federal legislation seeming unlikely, consumers and advocates may press state lawmakers to address data security. We have already seen state data breach notification laws proliferate following California’s enactment of the first such law in 2002. We may see data security laws spread in a similar fashion. In this post, we look at current and proposed state data security laws and consider their potential impact.
On December 8, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a settlement with TD Bank, under which TD Bank must pay $625,000 and take several steps to strengthen its data security practices. The settlement agreement stems from a data breach that impacted over 90,000 Massachusetts residents and over 260,000 customers nationwide. The AG’s approach to this case and the resulting settlement underscore the importance of providing prompt notification following a data breach as well as maintaining adequate oversight over the security practices of third-party service providers.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services sent a strong message to local governments last week when it reached a settlement with Skagit County, Washington over alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This is the first time that HHS has settled charges against a local—and not state level—government entity for HIPAA violations.
Last week, California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed suit against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (“Kaiser”) in relation to a 2011 data security breach. The AG’s complaint alleges that even though Kaiser provided notice of the breach to affected individuals, it took too long to issue the required notifications.
California recently passed a law updating its breach notification requirements and making it the first state to expand the definition of personal information to expressly include login credentials for online accounts. Under the new law, companies would be required to notify individuals if and when their passwords, usernames, or security question and answers are compromised or stolen. The latest amendments become effective as of January 1, 2014.
On Wednesday, Harriet Pearson, a partner in Hogan Lovells’ Privacy and Information Management Practice, appeared on the Cyberlaw and Business Report Internet radio show to discuss newly enacted California privacy laws. This blog post contains a link to the interview and a downloadable podcast.
At the 35th annual Conference of Data Protection Authorities and Privacy Commissioners in Warsaw, Poland today, Hogan Lovells partner and privacy practice lead Christopher Wolf spoke on the issue of privacy and trade in light of the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations between the EU and the U.S. This post contains prepared remarks to the commissioner’s on the need for interoperable cross-border privacy standards and the merits of the U.S. privacy regime.
In a recently-announced settlement between the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and a New York health plan, the health plan agreed to pay $1.2 million for the breach of electronic patient records stored in the internal memory of digital photocopiers leased and improperly disposed by the plan.
Under a new regulation on the notification of personal data breaches, providers of publicly available electronic communication services must provide notices to authorities of breaches within 24 hours. If the provider lacks full information about the data breach, a preliminary notice is required, with a subsequent notification within 3 days after the initial notification. The subscribers […]
Jan Albrecht, the rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, released a draft report last month with key proposals to amend the European Commission’s proposed Regulation on data protection. The report includes a total of 350 amendments to the original proposal. Highlights of the 215-page report include the following:
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III signed into law the Data Privacy Act of 2012, which is modeled after the EU Data Protection Directive and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Privacy Framework. The Act contains provisions that govern the processing of personal information, the rights of data subjects (e.g., notice, access, and data portability), and the security of personal information (which includes a breach notification requirement).
Following the recent implementation of the EU e-Privacy Directive, the Italian Data Protection Authority (the “Garante”) has issued a set of guidelines based upon which telecom operators and access providers are required to notify the Garante and data subjects of data breaches.
Privacy and data security were at the forefront of the May 11 PLI seminar program entitled “Cloud Computing 2012: Cut Through the Fluff and Tackle the Critical Stuff,” with presenters including Hogan Lovells partners Chris Wolf and Philip Porter. This blog post contains summarizes the panel discussions, with topics ranging from breach preparation to cloud contracting.
Hogan Lovells partners Quentin Archer, Roger Tym and Winston Maxwell hosted a London workshop on February 29, 2012 aimed at collecting comments for the UK Ministry of Justice’s public consultation on the proposed EU privacy Regulation. Workshop participants commented on the right to be forgotten, data portability, the accountability principle, data breach notifications, proposed requirements for consent, fining powers, and the “one-stop-shop” principle.
The White House released its long-awaited Privacy “White Paper” that outlines the Obama Administration’s proposal for a new American privacy framework, which consists of four key elements: (1) a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights; (2) a multi-stakeholder process to determine how these rights will apply in specific business contexts; (3) an effective enforcement model; and (4) greater interoperability between the privacy frameworks of the United States and its international partners.
The European Commission today published its proposal for a new Data Protection Regulation. The Regulation, which is not likely to come into force before 2014, is intended to harmonise data protection law in all 27 EU Member States and thus remove current differences which have proved problematic for business and individuals.
Although the European Commission was expected to release its overhaul of the 1995 Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) next month, some of the details of those changes emerged earlier than expected this week. In this post, we summarize the many key changes between the Data Protection Directive and the Commission’s draft Data Protection Regulation.