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September 2006

Perspectives: Focus on commonalities in state data breach laws

Complying with a plethora of state privacy laws is tough. Focus on their common elements. All the time, it seems, another state is coming up with a new law for protecting consumers' sensitive data. At least 23 have passed a security breach notification law, and these laws are far from uniform. The result is a bevy of regulations du jour and a daunting challenge for information security and compliance professionals. More than a few times I have been well on my way to meeting the privacy requirements for one state, only to find out another state has passed similar rules, but with additional mandates. Security breach laws vary as to who should be notified, what constitutes personal information, and most importantly, when notification should occur. Do we notify each time data has been accessed without authorization, or only when we believe the data is at risk? In the midst of all this, there is the development of federal regulation to preempt all the individual state regulations, with at least four bills under consideration. This is...

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