Data Protection

California Consumer Privacy Act: Are You Ready? (Part 1)

CCPA California Consumer Privacy Act Lock Orange and Gold

Photo Credit: istock.com/Torrey

By Susan Kohn Ross

In the last few weeks we have seen both regulatory and legislative action that has helped to clarify the scope and impact of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”). By way of a refresher, the CCPA seeks to protect the personal information of California consumers by giving them greater knowledge about the nature and extent of the data collected about them, how it is used (sold or shared) by those who possess it, and how the individual consumer can control the use of his/her personal data. The CCPA applies to companies, regardless of where they are located, which:

  • Have annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million;
  • Alone or in conjunction with others annually buy, sell, receive or share for commercial purposes, the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or
  • Derive 50% or more of their annual revenues from selling consumer personal information.

This framework leaves companies to ask some very basic questions before deciding next steps:

  • What is our annual gross revenue (not limited to California income)?
  • Do we have the personal information of at least 50,000 consumers, households or devices located in California?
  • Do we sell the personal data we have of those California consumers, households or devices? If so, do we derive 50% or more of our annual revenues from those sales?
  • Even if we do not sell that personal data, do we disclose any portion of it to any third parties?

If you answered more than $25 million to the first question or yes to any of the remaining questions, you could be subject to the CCPA, but there is more to the analysis. The next important question is: do you hold personal data belonging to any California consumers, households or devices? If you answered no, you can breathe a sigh of relief. If not, get ready for the year-end push! (more…)

California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 – GDPR Lite?

By Susan Kohn Ross and Aaron Wais

In a compromise to avoid a ballot measure, at the very last moment on the very last day, just before the stroke of midnight, on June 29, 2018, the California legislature passed and Governor Brown signed into law the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (the “Act”), which takes effect on January 1, 2020. Many of its provisions are similar to the General Data Protection Regulations (“GDPR”), which took effect in Europe at the end of May, and required companies to institute new internal data privacy regimes. So, while those companies which prepared for the GDPR are well on their way to gaining compliance with this new law, there is still much to be done by them and especially those companies which were not impacted by the GDPR. (more…)

The GDPR is Coming – Are You Ready?

GDPR Webinar Invite l BackgroundBy Susan Kohn Ross and Aaron Wais

On May 25, 2018, important European regulations regarding data privacy and protection go into effect that will have a major impact on American companies, many of whom don’t realize they will be subject to compliance with its requirements. The General Data Protection Regulations (the “GDPR”) will have severe penalties for non-compliance (as high as €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover). The GDPR will also have very broad territorial reach applying not only to European entities, but also to entities located outside of Europe (including those in the U.S.) that process the personal data of living European individuals residing in the covered countries, including if the company:

  • Offers goods or services to individuals in the covered countries (e.g., e-commerce, capital raising, fund raising, immigration);
  • Employs individuals in one or more of the countries;
  • Monitors the behavior of individuals in any of these countries; and
  • Collects, stores, or processes the personal data of affected individuals on behalf of others.

For these purposes, the European definition of personal data mirrors nicely the American definition of personally identifiable information. Given the severe penalties and broad reach, it is important that each company in the U.S. consider whether the GDPR applies to its operations and, if so, how best to comply. (more…)

If You SEC Something, Say Something

Cybersecurity of network of connected devices and personal data security

Photo credit: iStock.com/NicoElNino

By Melanie Figueroa and Susan Kohn Ross

Just about every survey of General Counsels reveals the same #1 culprit of sleepless nights….. a cybersecurity hack. If you run a business in today’s global environment, it is hard to escape the fundamental reality that it is more than likely a matter of when, not if, you will face a cyber threat. And depending on the nature of your business, that threat can have a wide range of implications. If you are a public company, there is an additional issue to consider… what do you have to disclose to your investors and shareholders?

Being prepared for a hack with a comprehensive written information security plan and an equally robust incident response plan is just one component to be considered if you are a public company. You must also have a plan to meet your reporting and disclosure obligations to a variety of governmental bodies. While measuring your response needs in the wake of a hack, and determining if there are state, federal or international laws and regulations that require reporting, you must also pay close attention to possible disclosure obligations in your SEC filings. Specifically, if you have tripped a disclosure to a state attorney general or your company’s customers, then it is possible you may also have a disclosure obligation to your shareholders. (more…)

Privacy Shield Takes More Hits

By Susan Kohn Ross

Just in the last week, both the European Parliament and the European Data Protection Supervisor (“EDPS”) published findings holding the currently proposed EU-US Privacy Shield to be seriously deficient, and calling for further negotiations to deal with those “holes”.

On May 26, 2016, the European Parliament passed a resolution, see EU Parliament Resolution, basically saying nice try, no cigar!  While acknowledging that great strides were made, the Parliament felt that too many gaps remained. Not surprising were the on-going concerns about the broad gathering of private data (i.e., bulk collection) by the U.S. government and what is viewed as the less than clearly defined circumstances in which that data may be used for recognized national security and law enforcement reasons, and what else? (more…)