California Amends Its Data Breach Law - For Real, This Time! (As California Goes, So Goes the Nation? Part Three)

California's infamous SB 1386 (California Civil Code sections 1798.29 and 1798.82) was the very first security breach notification law in the nation in 2002, and nearly every state followed suit.  Many states added their own new twists and variations on the theme - new triggers for notification requirements, regulator notice requirements, and content requirements for the notices themselves. Over the years, the California Assembly and Senate have passed numerous bills aimed at amending California's breach notification law to add a regulator notice provision and to require the inclusion of certain content. However, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bills on multiple occasions, at least three times. Earlier this year, State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) introduced Senate Bill 24, again attempting to enact such changes. Yesterday, August 31, 2011, Governor Brown signed SB 24 into law

SB 24, which will take effect January 1, 2012, requires the inclusion of certain content in data breach notifications, including a general description of the incident, the type of information breached, the time of the breach, and toll-free telephone numbers and addresses of the major credit reporting agencies in California.  In addition, importantly, SB 24 requires data holders to send an electronic copy of the notification to the California Attorney General if a single breach affects more than 500 Californians.  This adds California to the list of states and other jurisdictions that require some type of regulator notice in the event of certain types of data security breaches (note that California already requires notice to the Department of Public Health for certain regulated entities in the event of a breach involving patient medical information, Health & Safety Code section 1280.15). Other states that require some form of regulator notice in some circumstances for certain kinds of entities (sometimes for a breach, and sometimes to explain why an entity has determined there was no breach) include Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.

You can find the text of SB 24 here