On December 3, 2018, twelve attorneys general (“AGs”) jointly filed a data breach lawsuit against Medical Informatics Engineering and its subsidiary, NoMoreClipboard LLC (collectively “the Company”), an electronic health records company, in federal district court in Indiana. See Indiana v. Med. Informatics Eng’g, Inc., No. 3:18-cv-00969 (N.D. Ind. filed Dec. 3, 2018). The suit—led by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill—is joined by AGs from Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina and Wisconsin. While state AGs have previously exercised their civil enforcement authorities under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), this is the first multi-state data breach lawsuit alleging HIPAA violations in federal court and may signal increased interest on the part of state officials in exercising their data protection authorities to address cybersecurity incidents.
On December 19, 2018, Ohio adopted the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Insurance Data Security Model Law. By doing so, Ohio joins South Carolina as the second state to have adopted the Model Law and the fourth state – along with Connecticut and New York – to have enacted cybersecurity regulations for insurance companies. See CT Gen Stat § 38a-999b (2015); 23 NYCRR 500. (For more information on South Carolina’s adoption of the Model Law, see our prior coverage.) (more…)
*This article first appeared in the Hill.com on November 19, 2018
With the House having now flipped, policy consensus in Congress is not likely to get any easier. But there is one subject around which countries, companies, consumers and, yes, even Congress is increasingly converging. That issue is privacy. The new privacy zeitgeist follows years of data breaches as well as new concerns about invisible data collection, political micro-targeting and manipulation, the proliferation of internet-connected devices, and a potential lack of transparency in the decisions that machines increasingly make about us.
Companies with robust cybersecurity programs may still be vulnerable to attack. A new, first-of-its-kind law in Ohio now recognizes this fact. On November 1, 2018, the Ohio Data Protection Act (SB 220) establishes a safe harbor from state tort actions in data breach cases for entities that have developed an information security program with “administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for the protection of personal information and that reasonably conforms to an industry recognized cybersecurity framework.” Without establishing minimum cybersecurity standards, the Ohio law affords defendants an “affirmative defense” against state tort actions and establishes an important precedent that may serve as a model for other states and the federal government to follow. (more…)
On October 16, 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took the unusual step of issuing a Report of Investigation cautioning public companies that they should consider cyber threats and related human vulnerabilities when designing and implementing their internal accounting controls. The report is an outgrowth of an investigation conducted by the SEC’s Enforcement Division into whether certain public companies that were victims of cyber fraud complied with the federal securities laws requiring public companies to implement and maintain internal accounting controls. The controls provided by these provisions must be sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that transactions occur (e.g., purchasing equipment), and access to assets is permitted (e.g., checking accounts, warehouses), only in accordance with management’s authorization.
On September 26, the Senate Commerce Committee invited tech and telecom companies to the Hill to discuss safeguards for consumer data privacy. “The question,” noted Chairman John Thune, “is no longer whether we need a federal law to protect consumers’ privacy. The question is what shape that law should take.” The Senators and testifying witnesses expressed strong support for a comprehensive federal privacy law. (more…)
An increasing number of eyes are now turning to the U.S. Congress to see how it will react to these developments, and Data Matters – and the privacy community generally – will thus be closely watching the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, when it hosts a hearing titled “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy.” (more…)
The expert committee set up by the Government of India recently published a new draft data privacy draft bill called the Personal Data Protection Draft bill 2018 along with a detailed companion report. This significant development brings India closer to a comprehensive law for personal data protection. The draft bill is modelled on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If enacted into law, the draft bill would impose significant obligations on organizations, whether operating inside or outside India, including mandatory localization of personal data. The Government of India has invited comments to the draft bill by 30 September 2018. (more…)
Companies subject to New York’s Cybersecurity Regulation are acting quickly to finalize their compliance obligations as the fifth “due date,” September 4, 2018, quickly approaches.
By September 4, 2018, Covered Entities must ensure that their cybersecurity programs have in place certain additional safeguards:
- an audit trail that shows detection of and response to material cybersecurity events;
- written security procedures, guidelines, and standards for the development of in-house applications and for the evaluation and testing of externally developed applications;
- data retention policies and procedures for the disposal on a periodic basis of nonpublic information no longer necessary for business operations;
- risk-based policies, procedures, and controls to monitor the activity of authorized users and detect unauthorized access; and security controls, such as encryption, to protect non-public business relations and personal information.
Notably, for this upcoming deadline, Covered Entities that have received a limited exemption must still comply with the regulatory provision regarding data retention policies and procedures for the periodic disposal of nonpublic information. (more…)
*This article first appeared in the July 2018 issue of Digital Health Legal
Massive data breaches. Threats to medical devices. The Internet of Persons. Healthcare entities are all too familiar with the rising cyber threat. But they are also familiar with the complex array of laws and regulations in the United States that attempt to address the threat and the potentially significant compliance costs and risks caused by that complexity. The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s recent and long-awaited decision in LabMD v. Federal Trade Commission, which trimmed the sails of one of the primary regulators of the healthcare information security landscape, may thus appear to some, at first blush, to be a necessary corrective. Yet closer inspection shows that the Eleventh Circuit’s decision raises more questions than it answers – and that its true implications will only become clear once we see how federal regulators, the courts, and perhaps Congress respond.