Companies are facing more attacks on their information systems. And, as their cyber risk skyrockets, the SEC has stepped in with new regulations, telling businesses what to disclose about these incidents — and requiring detailed disclosures on cyber risk management more broadly. With the deadline for compliance fast approaching, businesses are scrambling to mitigate their legal risk and comply with regulations that some say may be an overreach.
On July 26, 2023, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission finalized its rule on Cybersecurity Risk Management, Strategy, Governance, and Incident Disclosure by Public Companies (the Final Rule), which will become effective 30 days following publication in the Federal Register. The Final Rule applies to all public companies subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including foreign private issuers, smaller reporting companies, and business development companies, and will require disclosure of material cybersecurity incidents on Form 8-K and Form 20-F and periodic disclosure of cybersecurity risk management, strategy, and governance in annual reports on Form 10-K and Form 20-F.
On June 30, 2023, Hong Kong’s data protection authority (the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, or PCPD) issued an updated version of its Guidance on Data Breach Handling and Data Breach Notifications (the Guidance, accessible here), which aims to guide companies on how they respond to data breaches. In particular, the Guidance contains a new recommendation for companies to adopt written data breach response plans.
On June 13, 2023, the Office of Management and Budget released its Spring 2023 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which includes updates on Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) proposed rules. The SEC pushed back its estimate for the final action date to October 2023 for its proposed cybersecurity rules related to public companies, as well as for its investment advisers and funds proposal. Notably, the SEC’s timelines are typically estimates for implementation, and the proposed rules could be introduced sooner or later than these dates. However, the updated timeline indicates that the SEC is prioritizing finalizing its cybersecurity rules related to public companies and investment advisers and funds.
On January 6, 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (the Commission) released a unanimously adopted Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, “In the Matter of Data Breach Reporting Requirements” (Proposed Rule). The Commission sought comments through February 22, 2023 on the Proposed Rule which will update its current data breach reporting rule. Reply comments are due on or before March 24, 2023.
On October 24, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued an order (the “Order”) against the online alcohol marketplace, Drizly, and its CEO, James Cory Rellas, alleging security failures that resulted in a data breach exposing the personal information of approximately 2.5 million consumers. In reaching this conclusion, the FTC alleges that Drizly failed to implement reasonable safeguards to protect the personal information it collected and stored, such as, two-factor authentication for GitHub, access controls for personal data, sufficient written security policies, and appropriate employee training regarding security.
The U.S. Treasury Department is seeking public comment on the need and scope for a potential federal insurance response to catastrophic cyber incidents, akin to the one put in place for terrorism insurance after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
On October 5, 2022, a federal jury in the Northern District of California convicted former Uber Chief Security Officer Joseph Sullivan of obstructing a federal proceeding and misprision of a felony for his role in deceiving management and the federal government to cover up a 2016 data breach that exposed personally identifiable information (“PII”) of approximately 57 million users, including approximately 600,000 drivers’ license numbers, of the ride-hailing service. Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor, appears to be the first corporate executive criminally prosecuted—let alone convicted—for his response to a data security incident perpetrated by criminals. Sullivan faces a maximum of five years in prison for the obstruction charge, and a maximum three years in prison for the misprision charge.
On Thursday, August 11, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it is exploring rules to crack down on harmful commercial surveillance and lax data security practices. The FTC’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPR”) solicits public comment on whether it should put into effect new rules and restrictions concerning standards and requirements for information security, the ways in which companies collect and process data in commercial contexts, and whether any practices related to the transfer, sharing, selling, or other monetization of personal information should be categorized as unfair or deceptive. The FTC voted 3-2 to publish the notice, with Chair Khan and Commissioners Slaughter and Bedoya voting in favor and issuing separate statements. Commissioners Phillips and Wilson voted against publication and also issued separate dissenting statements. The following Monday, Commissioner Phillips announced he would be leaving the FTC this fall.
*Reprinted with permission from the May 6, 2022 edition of the New York Law Journal © 2022 ALM Global Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It used to be that data breaches were all about cyber-crooks hacking computer systems to steal personal information, followed by an affected company sending regretful notification letters offering a year or two of complimentary credit monitoring. Not anymore. (more…)