This week, Consumer Reports published a Model State Privacy Act. The Consumer advocacy organization proposed model legislation “to ensure that companies are required to honor consumers’ privacy.” The model legislation is similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act, but seeks to protect consumer privacy rights “by default.” Some additional provisions of the model law include a broad prohibition on secondary data sharing, an opt-out of first-party advertising, and a private right of action in addition to enforcement by state Attorneys General.
While the introduction of a model privacy law is an interesting development, we also continue to track state privacy laws in multiple states right now, as several states have recently introduced consumer privacy legislation. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota, New York and Utah recently saw the introduction of new privacy legislation. As legislative sessions move forward into 2021, we expect even more states to follow suit.
Our list of pending state privacy legislation includes:
We will continue to provide updates as these bills move forward.
Canon U.S.A. Inc. (Canon) was hit with a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York this week for the ransomware attack that exposed current and former employees’ personal information in November 2020. The plaintiffs reside in Ohio, New York, Florida and Illinois, and allege that Canon was negligent in protecting employee data and violated state trade practice laws by failing to guard against such an attack. The plaintiffs further allege that Canon failed to notify the affected individuals in a timely manner.
The attack on Cannon occurred in August 2020 and affected current and former employees from 2005 to 2020, as well as their beneficiaries and dependents. The information affected included Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, financial account numbers, electronic signatures, and dates of birth. The plaintiffs are seeking certification of a nationwide class.
Home Depot has agreed to settle a multi-state enforcement action by 46 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. arising from the data breach that occurred in 2014. Home Depot has agreed to pay $17.5 million to put the enforcement action behind it. The investigation was led by the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Illinois and Texas.
The multi-state investigation followed Home Depot’s data breach that affected 40 million customers who used self-checkout terminals in its U.S. and Canadian stores between April 10, 2014, and September 13, 2014. According to the investigation, hackers used a vendor’s username and password to infiltrate Home Depot’s network and deployed malware to access the customers’ payment card information. In addition to the credit card information, at least 52 million people’s email addresses were exposed.
In announcing the settlement, Connecticut Atty. Gen. William Tong stated that companies collecting sensitive personal information “have an obligation to protect information from unlawful use or disclosure… Home Depot failed to take those precautions.” In addition to the monetary settlement, Home Depot has agreed to hire a Chief Information Security Officer, upgrade its security procedures and provide employee training. Home Depot denies liability in the matter.