As organizations of all stripes increasingly rely on cloud computing services to conduct their business, the need to balance the benefits and risks of cloud computing is more important than ever. This is especially true when it comes to data security and privacy risks. However, most Cloud customers find it very difficult to secure favorable contract terms when it comes to data security and privacy. While customers may enjoy some short term cost-benefits by going into the Cloud, they may be retaining more risk then they want (especially where Cloud providers refuse to accept that risk contractually). In short, the players in this industry are at an impasse. Cyber insurance may be a solution to help solve the problem.
This month, federal agencies and FINRA have announced significant privacy enforcement actions that have resulted in millions of dollars in fines. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) imposed a $4.3M fine on a health plan for violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule; the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled with several resellers of consumer reports allegations that the resellers failed to adequately safeguard consumer information; and FINRA imposed a $600K fine on two securities firms for failure to safeguard access to customer records. Here are the details:
This post is Part Two of my FAQ on the proposed modifications to the HIPAA Rules issued by HHS last week. Part Two focuses on the proposed modifications to the Privacy Rule.
As reported last week, on Thursday the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") issued its long-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ("NPRM") on Modifications to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the "HITECH" Act). For those of us who subscribe to numerous technology and law listservs, this meant emailboxes flooded with opinions, criticism, speculation, and flat-out fear mongering. We thought people might like to know what the proposed modifications actually say, and what they mean. So, this post provides Part One of a FAQ on the 234 page NPRM. This post, Part One, addresses general issues (including significant changes involving subcontractors) and proposed modifications to the HIPAA Security and Enforcement Rules. Part Two, later this week, will address the proposed modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
On February 17, 2009, Congress signed into law the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health or "HITECH" Act ("HITECH" or the "Act") as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The HITECH Act requires entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") to provide notification to affected individuals and to the Secretary of Health and Human Services ("HHS") following the discovery of a breach of unsecured protected health information. HITECH also requires business associates of HIPAA-covered entities to notify the covered entity in the event of the breach. The Act required HHS to issue interim final regulations with respect to the new breach notification requirements. On August 24, 2009, the HHS interim final regulations were published in the Federal Register.
In the last post, I talked about the role of encryption in fashioning a "reasonable" security plan for sensitive personal information and other protected data routinely collected, stored, and used by an enterprise. But lawmakers and regulators are getting more specific about using encryption and managing data that is risky from an ID-theft perspective. Here are some leading examples of this trend.
Last month we posted some basics on cloud computing designed to provide some context and identify the legal issues. What is the cloud? Why is everyone in the tech community talking about it? Why do we as lawyers even care? Dave provided a few things for our readers to think about -- privacy, security, e-discovery. Now let's dig a little deeper. I am going to start with privacy and cross-border data transfers. Is there privacy in the cloud? What are the privacy laws to keep in mind? What are an organization's compliance obligations? As with so many issues in the privacy space, the answer begins with one key principle -- location, location, location.