Posts from August 2009.
Time 1 Minute Read

On August 19, 2009, the state DPA in North Rhine-Westphalia fined a subsidiary of the discount supermarket chain Lidl €36,000 (approximately $51,000) for illegally keeping records of employee health data.

The case was triggered by a report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel.  A Bochum resident found papers and forms containing Lidl employees' health data in a trash bin at a car wash and forwarded them to the magazine.  Subsequent investigations revealed that at least four Lidl branches in North Rhine-Westphalia were using a form to record data about employees' medical ...

Time 3 Minute Read

On August 17, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") issued a final rule ("FTC Final Rule") addressing security breaches of personal health records ("PHRs").  The FTC Final Rule applies to all breaches discovered on or after September 24, 2009, and to “foreign and domestic vendors of personal health records, PHR related entities, and third party service providers” that “maintain information of U.S. citizens or residents.”  The FTC Final Rule does not apply to covered entities or business associates as defined under regulations promulgated pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA").  Full compliance is required by February 22, 2010.

Time 2 Minute Read

New Hampshire recently enacted legislation restricting the use and disclosure of protected health information (“PHI”). As of January 1, 2010, health care providers and their business associates will be obligated to notify affected individuals of disclosures of PHI that are allowed under federal law, but are prohibited under the New Hampshire statute.

The New Hampshire law requires health care providers and their business associates to (i) obtain authorization for the use or disclosure of PHI for “marketing” and (ii) offer individuals an opt-out opportunity for the use or disclosure of PHI for fundraising purposes. In addition, it prohibits the disclosure of PHI for marketing (even with an authorization) or fundraising by voice mail, unattended facsimile, or through other methods of communication that are not secure.

Time 3 Minute Read

On August 19, 2009, the Official Journal published guidelines issued by the French Data Protection Authority (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (the “CNIL”)) regarding transfers of personal data carried out in the context of U.S. discovery proceedings (the “Guidelines”). The CNIL’s publication comes in the wake of a recent increase in the volume of requests made to French-based companies involved in U.S. litigation to disclose information or documents for the purposes of civil pre-trial discovery.

Time 3 Minute Read

On August 17, 2009, Massachusetts announced revisions to its information security regulations and extended the deadline for compliance with those regulations.  In the press release announcing the revised regulations, the Undersecretary of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation noted the concerns of small business leaders regarding the impact on their companies, stating that the updated regulations “feature a fair balance between consumer protections and business realities.”

Time 1 Minute Read

On September 12, 2009, Maine’s Act to Prevent Predatory Marketing Practices Against Minors (the “Act”) will take effect.  The Act prohibits businesses from knowingly collecting or receiving a minor’s health-related information or personal information for marketing purposes without first obtaining verifiable parental consent.  Businesses are also prohibited from using any health-related information or personal information regarding a minor for the purpose of marketing a product or service to the minor.  Pursuant to the Act, the use of information in such a manner is a ...

Time 1 Minute Read

Privacy laws in China are still evolving, and at this time there is no coordinated legal framework addressing data protection.  There are, however, a number of Chinese laws that are applicable to the processing and protection of personal information.  Navigating the indirect, piecemeal Chinese approach to regulation in this area may prove challenging for foreign counsel accustomed to practicing in jurisdictions with explicit privacy protection legislation and data security laws.  To shed some light on these issues, we have prepared an overview of various Chinese laws that bear on ...

Time 1 Minute Read
In a move that portends increased enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) Privacy Rule, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has created two new positions on its health information privacy enforcement team.  According to the job listings, the new Health Information Privacy Specialists at the HHS Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) will be responsible for “reviewing, analyzing, implementing, promoting, or improving proposed or existing programs or policies needed to implement OCR’s authority for ensuring ...
Time 4 Minute Read

July saw a flurry of activity involving data security breach notification laws. 

  • On July 1, breach notification laws in Alaska and South Carolina went into effect.
  • On July 9, Missouri became the 45th state to enact a data breach notification law. 
  • On July 22, Senator Patrick Leahy reintroduced a comprehensive federal data security bill calling it one of his “highest legislative priorities.”
  • On July 27, North Carolina amended its breach notification law to require notification of the state attorney general any time consumers are notified of a breach involving their personal information.  The amendment also included content requirements for the attorney general’s notice.


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