The National Law Forum

The Blog of the The National Law Review

New Data Security Bill Seeks Uniformity in Protection of Consumers’ Personal Information

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Last week, House lawmakers floated a bipartisan bill titled the Data Security and Breach Notification Act (the Bill). The Bill comes on the heels of legislation proposed by US President Barack Obama, which we recently discussed in a previous post. The Bill would require certain entities that collect and maintain consumers’ personal information to maintain reasonable data security measures in light of the applicable context, to promptly investigate a security breach, and to notify affected individuals of the breach in detail. In our Contract Corner series, we have examined contract provisions related to cybersecurity, including addressing a security incident if one occurs.

Some notable aspects of the Bill include the following:

  • Notification to individuals affected by a breach would generally be required within 30 days after a company has begun taking investigatory and corrective measures (rather than based on the date of the breach’s discovery).

  • Notification to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Secret Service or the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be required if the number of individuals whose personal information was (or there is a reasonable basis to conclude was) leaked exceeds 10,000.

  • To advance uniform and consistently applied standards throughout the United Sates, the Bill would preempt state data security and notification laws. However, the scope of preemption continues to be discussed, and certain entities would be excluded from the Bill’s requirements, including entities subject to existing data security regulatory regimes (e.g., entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

  • Violations of the Bill would be enforced by the FTC or state attorneys general (and not by a private right of action).

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