Individuals behind a password screen.

The Importance of Data Privacy For Protecting Business and Client Information

If you own a business that demands you to understand what data privacy is and how it affects you, then now is the time for you to get informed. It has much to do with maintaining an acceptable level of trust between organizations and clients. Data privacy compliance has a framework involving a set of guidelines that require business institutions to integrate into their security system as per several state and federal laws on varying levels.

What Is Data Privacy? 

Data privacy is a general concept that governs the handling, storage, access, and preservation of sensitive information or data. It is also referred to as information security or information control. 

In technical terms, it is a system designed to govern the handling, processing, distribution, safety management, and ownership of valuable digital information. This information may include personal details, such as credit card numbers, financial transaction details, and other facts accessible through digital systems that privately belong to individuals or organizations.

Data safety protocols and processes are imposed by the privacy protection laws in different countries. These laws ensure the legality of the use of sensitive personal information and provide guidelines for proper handling, storage, and transmission of such information. This ensures that the benefits derived from the various programs implemented by the organizations are legit and are not being abused to serve selfish ends. The process of implementation varies from each country or region and thus, different laws are governing data privacy issues in different parts of the world. 

Data Security

Protecting Business and Client Information

Data security is the practice of protecting data and maintaining the privacy of information, which obligates an organization to secure data at its source or to ensure the privacy of data in transit and throughout its lifecycle. This practice protects confidential information whether it is transmitted over the internet or through private networks. It also governs how organizations can safeguard corporate assets against corruption and unauthorized access. These have become more important with the growth of sophisticated data encryption technologies, which have made the transmission of sensitive corporate information more secure.

There are certain conditions recognized by countries across the world and are enforced by each government. They include the responsibilities of service providers to take reasonable measures to ensure the confidentiality of communications and related data, protection against data leaks and interference, and protection against the abuse of personal information. Aside from these, several laws address the rights of businesses to protect their clients’ private information. These include the right to secure network systems, secure the confidentiality of information, and providing clients with the right to access and see the documents that have been sent to them.

Data Compliance

Data compliance ensures the correct practice of data privacy along with legal and governmental regulations. If organizations are not complying with the regulations stated by the federal or state government, then they are going to find themselves out of compliance, and the clients, customers, and employees might also be bound to some legal stipulations. 

Companies that fail to comply with the legal conditions of data privacy may be sanctioned, which may include fines or other penalties. There are many legal defenses available to business owners who are accused of not being able to guarantee the confidentiality of their data. For example, a business owner may use a server that is situated abroad to facilitate trade for his company. Similarly, a person who has concerns about how a product or service obtained by purchasing online could use data protection tools and safeguard his privacy.

Businesses need to stay abreast of any changes to data protection laws and the only way for a business to satisfy data compliance is to adhere to the latest privacy law of a particular state. 

Why Is Data Privacy Important?

For starters, data privacy equips an organization to responsibly handle and protect the information of an entity or individual. Therefore, it implies the accountability of the responsible party, whether the organization, government, or a private entity, to protect any information that may be related to all transactions from unauthorized use, mishandling, and/or disclosure. 

How Does One Understand and Appreciate The Need For Privacy? 

A company’s data privacy can be interpreted as the confidence towards the organization in communicating sensitive data or information to its customers and partners. As such, companies that want to be considered most trustworthy will have to be reliable enough and have the integrity to follow data privacy protocols. This way, consumers can be reassured that their data is taken care of while they are using the company’s services. Secondly, data privacy also has to do with keeping suppliers and other business operations well within the law by ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Data Privacy For Businesses and Organizations

Importance of Data Privacy

A business or organization must establish certain rules governing the use of private data for marketing, product research, customer contact, and evaluation, etc. For instance, when these valuable data are stored in company computer systems, the company and its employees are bound to respect the privacy set by data protection laws and make it impossible for anyone to commit unethical and illegal breaches. 

Whether you are a business or a consumer, how do you ensure your data is protected? 

You can guarantee security for your data through a security program installed into the organization’s computer and network system. There are many companies providing data security services to keep private information private and safe and ensure that the protocols follow state or federal laws. An organization’s IT department should be able to maintain the data privacy protocols regularly. This will keep the system running as smoothly as possible without the constant imminent threat of a data breach. 

Summary

Data privacy compliance is highly necessary for organizations to avoid breaking the law or risking their businesses and their clients’ personal information. Users are advised to follow basic personal data protection like using passwords whenever they transfer personal information online and use safety protocols when using public networks. It is up to the user to implement data privacy into the system and follow professional data security advice.

Find out which privacy laws impact your business. Metaverse Law specializes in privacy, data protection, and cybersecurity law to assist startups and multinationals across the country in the high-tech, digital marketing, healthcare, and e-commerce industries with their privacy and data security obligations. Visit us here today to learn more!

Image of virginia state and shield. Virginia has a new data privacy law.

Virginia Governor Signs Comprehensive Data Privacy Law

Image Credit: Kjrstie from Pixabay.

Following hot on the footsteps of the California Privacy Rights Act, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed the Consumer Data Protection Act on Tuesday, making Virginia the second state in the U.S. to pass a comprehensive data privacy law. Below, please see our comparison of the the California Consumer Privacy Act and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act.

California Consumer Privacy Act
(CCPA)
California Privacy Rights Act
(CPRA)
Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act
(VCDPA)
Date of effectJanuary 1, 2020January 1, 2023January 1, 2023
Law applies toA “business” that meets at least one threshold below:
• Generates over $25M in annual gross revenue;
• Handles the records of at least 50,000 California consumers; or
• Generates over 50% in annual revenue from sales of consumer data
Same as CCPA, except the threshold for handling records of California consumers increases from 50,000 to 100,000.Applies to businesses that
• Handles the records of at least 100,000 Virginia consumers; or
• Handles the records of at least 25,000 Virginia consumers and derives over 50% in gross revenue from sales of consumer data

Definition of personal data
Any information that could be associated or linked with a particular consumer or household.Same as CCPA, except that there is a reasonableness element:
Any information that could be reasonably associated or linked with a particular consumer or household.
Limited to particular consumers.
“Any information that is linked or reasonably linkable to an identified or identifiable natural person”
Definition of sensitive personal dataDoes not define sensitive personal data.Defines sensitive personal data to include:
• Social security number
• Driver’s license
number
• Account log-in, debit,
or credit card number in combination with password or PIN
• Precise geolocation
• Racial/ethnic origins
• Religious or
philosophical beliefs
• Union membership
• Contents of e-mails or
texts to others
• Genetic/biometric
data
• Health information
• Sex life/sexual
orientation data
Defines sensitive personal data to include:
• Racial/ethnic origins
• Religious beliefs
• Mental or physical
health diagnosis
• Sexual orientation
• Citizenship/
immigration status
• Genetic/biometric
data
• Children’s data
• Precise geolocation
Consumer rights• Access
• Deletion
• Non-Discrimination
• Opt-out of:
o Sale of personal data
Same as CCPA, with the addition of rights to:
• Correct personal information
• Limit the use of
sensitive personal information
• Access
• Correction
• Deletion
• Port
• Opt-out of:
o Targeted advertising
o Sale of personal data
o Profiling in furtherance of decisions that produce legal effects
Data Privacy Impact AssessmentsNo requirement to conduct or document.No requirement to conduct or document.Controllers must conduct and document data protection assessments for the following activities:
• Targeted advertising
• Sale of personal data
• Profiling
• Sensitive data
• Catch-all: any data that presents a “heightened risk of harm to consumers.”
Data Protection AuthorityCalifornia Office of the Attorney General$10 million allocated per year to the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA).
Primary enforcement and rulemaking abilities shift from the California Attorney General to the CPPA.
Virginia Office of the Attorney General
Cure Provision30 days to cure upon written notice of a violation by the California Attorney General’s office.Ability to cure removed from CPRA.30 days to cure upon written notice of a violation by Virginia Attorney General’s office.
EnforcementAdministrative fines ranging from $2,500 per violation to $7,500 for intentional violations.Administrative fines of $7,500 now includes intentional violations and children’s data violations.Administrative fines of $7,500 per violation.
Private Right of ActionConsumers have a private right of action for the unauthorized disclosure of nonencrypted and nonredacted personal information.Same as CCPA.Consumers do NOT have a private right of action.
Medical stethoscope and blue ink pen laying on appointment booklet. HIPAA privacy notices.

Deidentified Health Info under HIPAA: Deconstructing Dinerstein v. Google, LLC

Image Credit: DarkoStojanovic from Pixabay.

HIPAA Lawsuit
Privacy Compliance

Health data is an increasingly fraught area of privacy. Outside of sectoral health privacy laws like HIPAA, many regulations such as the GDPR and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) rightly treat health or biometric information as a sensitive or special category of data deserving of more protections than many other types of data.

The amount of electronic heath data collected by companies is also increasing at a staggering rate. DNA testing kits and wearable fitness trackers are everywhere, and telehealth has proliferated in the wake of COVID-19.

Healthcare data controllers are just as likely to be big tech companies as opposed to traditional covered entities. Consequently, courts now need to consider a variety of privacy frameworks, not just HIPAA and HITECH, when they adjudicate healthcare claims.

In September 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a lawsuit brought against the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Medical Center (collectively referred to as “the University”) and Google for allegations that the University improperly disclosed healthcare data to Google as part of a research partnership. Dinerstein v. Google, LLC, No. 19-cv-04311 (N.D. Ill. 2020).

Even though the University and Google were able to shake off this lawsuit, this case touched upon several interesting questions at the intersection of HIPAA and other privacy laws:

Continue Reading Deidentified Health Info under HIPAA: Deconstructing Dinerstein v. Google, LLC
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California Privacy Rights Act Highlights With Lily Li and DPO Advisor

Permalink to video here: https://vimeo.com/484360790

Mike: Hi everyone, if you’ve been following data privacy at all, you’ve probably already heard of California’s new landmark privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA as it is widely known.

The CCPA was the biggest data privacy shakeup in United States history. However, on November 3rd, California passed the California Privacy Rights Act or the CPRA, which adds teeth to the CCPA and further strengthens the rights for California consumers.

Here to talk about the upcoming CPRA is Lily Li, who is a Data Privacy Attorney and the founder of Metaverse Law.

Lily, thanks so much for joining us today.

Lily: Hey, thanks for having me.

Mike: Well, let’s jump right in. Can you please explain to everyone what the CPRA is?

Lily: Well, the CPRA is a law that amends the existing law on the books. As you mentioned there is this law called the California Consumer Privacy Act. It was passed by the California Legislature in 2018 and went into affect January 1st of this year.

Now we have CPRA, which is a ballot initiative that passed in the latest election, and it amends CCPA even further to make it more protective of privacy rights. Both of how customers use sensitive data and also about how companies use children’s data. We can definitely go more into the different changes that CPRA made to CCPA but this is a little bit of background on how it started.

Mike: That’s great. What do you feel are some of the key changes that the CPRA brings?

Lily: Well, the CPRA brings in this idea of sensitive personal information or sensitive personal data. And this aligns with a lot of other global privacy laws like GDPR and the new Brazilian Data Protection law.

Previously CCPA treated all types of personal information the same with respect to data subject requests. So people could get copies of their data. People could delete their data and a lot of people still have those rights with respect to companies.

Now, in CPRA there’s a new category of data sensitive personal data, sensitive personal information and these categories of data include things like health care information, now precise geo location, information about people’s genetics or biometric data.

And what’s important about these categories of data is that not only does the law prevent you from sharing this data without providing certain notices. The law also allows consumers to limit how a company uses sensitive data for their own purposes.

So even if you’re collecting Geo location information, not giving it out to third parties, if you’re using it for purposes at the company that aren’t related to why you’re collecting it from the consumer, the consumer can have the right to ask you to limit your use of sensitive data.

A good example of this is precise Geo location data. Uber got in trouble a little awhile ago because it would collect Geo location data from people using its rideshare app—even after people had stopped using the app. And so Uber could track people’s location in their homes or while they were still waiting for the right transit service.

This is a big No-No—especially if you are not disclosing it. But now, customers and consumers have the right to say hey, only use these sensitive pieces of information to provide me the services that I’ve requested. Don’t use it for anything else.

Another big change that the CPRA makes. Some people call it “CIPRA” now like to use the term CIPRA is that it increases the penalties for children’s data.

So previously, you could suffer fines if you were using children’s data in violation of how you disclosed the uses of data and privacy policy or if you refuse to respond to consumer requests regarding children’s data and the finding regime was the same. It was $2500 to $7500 per violation.

The difference between CPRA and CCPA is that under CCPA you could be fined $2500 per violation or $7500 per intentional violation. So you had to intentionally violate the law, and not just accidentally violate it because you didn’t know about the rules.

What “CIPRA” does or CPRA does is that it removes the intentionality requirement when you’re dealing with children’s data. So if you are using children’s data in ways that you haven’t disclosed in your privacy policy or are you are not fulfilling consumer requests regarding children’s data, then you are subject to that higher fine of $7500 per violation without any showing that you did it on purpose.

And there are a lot of other changes in CPRA that affects businesses. One of them is concerning behavioral advertising.

Under CCPA there was a lot of debate about whether or not re marketing, re targeting other types of cookies that track users across websites counted as sales of consumer data. And if something counted as a sale of consumer data under California law, you need to put a lot of disclosures on your website, like I do not sell my personal information.

Some companies were arguing that targeting ads behavioral advertising wasn’t a sale. There was no real exchange of money for personal information.

But CPRA removes that ambiguity. Under CPRA it is very clear that cross contextual behavioral advertising, that is to say, cookies that you set on a device that tracks users across different platforms in order to create a profile for a user to target them, counts as sales of data under CCPA, and so triggers a lot of the same disclosure requirements as if you were selling data in more traditional formats. So that’s another big change due to CPRA.

Mike: What do you think are the most important steps for businesses to take to comply with the CPRA?

Continue Reading California Privacy Rights Act Highlights With Lily Li and DPO Advisor
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