Privacy and Security Law

The California Privacy Protection Agency Board (the “Board”) held a public meeting on February 3, 2023, adopting and approving the current set of draft rules (the “Draft Rules”), which implement and clarify the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) as amended by the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (“CPRA”). The Draft Rules cover many CCPA requirements, including restrictions on the collection and use of personal information, transparency obligations, consumer rights and responding to consumer requests, and service provider contract requirements. At the meeting, the Board also addressed additional proposed rulemaking processes concerning cybersecurity audits, risk assessments, and automated decision-making. 

Continue Reading California Privacy Protection Agency Board Adopts and Approves CCPA Regulations and Discusses Preliminary Rulemaking for Cybersecurity Audits, Risk Assessments, and Automated Decision-Making

On February 1, 2023, the FTC announced a proposed $1.5 million settlement with GoodRx Holdings, based on alleged violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTC Act”) and Health Breach Notification Rule (“HBNR”) for using advertising technologies on its websites and mobile app that resulted in the unauthorized disclosure of consumers’ personal and health information to advertisers and other third parties. On the same day, the U.S. Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the FTC, filed a Complaint and Proposed Stipulated Order detailing the FTC’s allegations and the terms of the proposed settlement. 

Continue Reading FTC Brings Enforcement Action Under FTC Act and Health Breach Notification Rule Based on GoodRx’s Use of Advertising Tracking Technology on Its Websites and Mobile Application

More than just New Year’s resolutions went into effect when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2023. The California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (“VCPDA”) are now effective in California and Virginia, respectively. These comprehensive data privacy laws, along with three other state laws going into effect this year, establish new and complex obligations for businesses. If your business has not taken steps to prepare for these privacy laws, it is high time to start that process to avoid violations and enforcement likely to follow later in the year. See below for a timeline of key dates.

Continue Reading 2023 New Year’s Resolution: Effectively Comply with New Comprehensive State Privacy Laws

On December 1, 2022, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a bulletin warning that commonly used website technologies, including cookies, pixels, and session replay, may result in the impermissible disclosure of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) to third parties in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). The bulletin advises that “[r]egulated entities are not permitted to use tracking technologies in a manner that would result in impermissible disclosures of Protected Health Information (“PHI”) to tracking technology vendors or any other violations of the HIPAA Rules.” The bulletin is issued amidst a wider national and international privacy landscape that is increasingly focused on regulating the collection and use of personal information through web-based technologies and software that may not be readily apparent to the user.

Continue Reading HHS Warns HIPAA Covered Entities and Business Associates That Use of Website Cookies, Pixels, and Other Tracking Technology May Violate HIPAA Rules

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) gives consumers increasingly more control over their personal information when collected by businesses subject to the law. We have previously discussed the compliance requirements of these data privacy laws on organizations doing business in California.[1] Significantly, CCPA/CPRA defines the term “consumer” to mean any California resident; which from a business perspective, such a broad definition encompasses not only the business’s individual customers, but also its employees, job-applicants or even business-to-business (B2B) contacts.  With the moratoriums currently in place for B2B and employee/applicant data sunsetting on January 1, 2023 and not likely to be extended, and the prospect for federal data privacy legislation with wide preemptive effect of state law looking less likely, businesses should be actively preparing to meet these expanded statutory obligations.

Continue Reading No More Exceptions: What to Do When the California Privacy Exemptions for Employee, Applicant and B2B Data Expire

On July 8, two weeks following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson that invalidated the constitutional right to abortion, President Biden signed Executive Order 14076 (E.O.). The E.O. directed federal agencies to take various actions to protect access to reproductive health care services,[1] including directing the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to “consider actions” to strengthen the protection of sensitive healthcare information, including data on reproductive healthcare services like abortion, by issuing new guidance under the Health Insurance and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).[2]

Continue Reading Biden Administration Seeks to Clarify Patient Privacy Protections Post-Dobbs, Though Questions Remain

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to imminently issue its opinion in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (“Dobbs”). If the Court rules in a manner to overturn Roe v. Wade, states will have discretion in determining how to regulate abortion services.[1] Such a ruling would overturn nearly 50 years of precedent, leaving patients, reproductive health providers, health plans, pharmacies, and may other stakeholders to navigate a host of uncharted legal issues. Specifically, stakeholders will likely need to untangle the web of cross-state legal issues that may emerge.

Continue Reading The Pendulum Swings Both Ways: State Responses to Protect Reproductive Health Data, Post-Roe

Establishing and maintaining effective systems to protect sensitive personal data and confidential business information from outside interference while also assuring that privacy interests are protected is among an organization’s highest priorities. Our security and privacy team at Epstein Becker & Green has written extensively about the guidance and best practices issued by federal and state regulatory and enforcement agencies. Execution, monitoring and continually updating these preventive practices define an organization’s first line of defense. But what happens in the event that an organization actually suffers a breach? Is there guidance that might be available, particularly to healthcare organizations, to deal with continuity and disaster planning (BC/DR) directed towards assuring resilience and recovery in the event of a potentially-disastrous cyberattack?

Continue Reading Hacking Healthcare: Cyberattack Contingency Planning and Response

The past several years have proven difficult for healthcare entities due to increasing cybersecurity threats, breaches and regulatory enforcement. Following these trends, on April 6, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a Request for Information (RFI) soliciting public comment on how regulated entities are voluntarily implementing security practices under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act) and also seeking public input on sharing funds collected through enforcement with individuals who are harmed by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) rule violations.

Continue Reading HIPAA Enforcers Seek Public Input on Recognized Security Practices and Sharing Enforcement Recoveries with Affected Individuals