Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Wall Street Journal's Ben Worthen Investigates New Wave of State Privacy Laws

The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Worthen digs into the new email privacy and data security laws enacted in Nevada and Massachusetts. The Nevada law went into effect October 1st. The Massachusetts law goes into effect in January.

In his October 16th article Worthen draws insight from experts in the field:

“The new state data-security laws are stricter than past regulations, which only required businesses to notify people whose personal information they lost. The new laws establish a standard that can be used by plaintiffs in civil suits to argue that a business that lost data was negligent” -- Miriam Wugmeister, attorney with Morrison & Foerster LLP.”

"We do business in all 50 states so we're definitely reviewing it." -- Andrew Speirs, Information security officer for National Life Group, insurance based in Montpelier, Vt.

"It's a burden, but it's something you have to do." -- Karen Grant, Chief Privacy Officer for Boston Based Partners HealthCare System Inc., commenting on the $100,000 price tag for complying with the new law.

"Breach-notification laws deal with what happens after the horse leaves the barn. [The new regulation] is intended to prevent the horse from getting out of the barn in the first place." -- Daniel Crane, Undersecretary of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

My own firm’s approach to complying with the law looks at the participants in this legal ecosystem. So much paper moves between law firms, insurance companies and hospitals that some people call this the devil’s triangle. But people are also asking how to move these documents privately. My firm’s development team has produced one solution for client privacy.

We’re one of a handful of companies that have taken a specific look at how to move legal documents privately over the web. But these new laws make one thing clear: the reasonable expectation of privacy when using email is now being questioned under state law. More information on my firm’s solution is available at: Legal Lockbox.

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