First Thoughts on 2018 Updates to the Colorado Data Protection Law

Data Security IconColorado has had data privacy laws for many years.  This year the Colorado legislator took up enhancements to these laws in House Bill 18-1128. The act was signed into law on May 29, 2018, by Governor Hickenlooper.   The crux of the law is that all companies in Colorado with data about Colorado residents have a responsibility to protect the data about Colorado residents.  The biggest change is that if there is a breach of data a company only has 45 days to report the data loss to the people it affects.  

The definition of "personal identifying information" or PII is what you would expect. 

PII includes, " [a] social security  number; a personal identification number; a password; a pass code; an official state or government-issued driver's license or identification card number; a government passport number; biometric data, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 6-1-716 (1)(a); an employer, student, or military identification number; or a financial transaction device."

The law applies to any organization, for-profit or not-for-profit that collects data or processes the data. The law requires keeping "reasonable security procedures." Denver DataMan already works with our customers to put in places security procedures and we will be making sure that these procedures meet the standards that the law requires which we believe it will, knowing all along that security is a constantly evolving landscape. 

The law does make clear that there are different expectations depending on the size of the company the type of the data that is being kept. For example,  a  company that has a blog that lets users log on with usernames and passwords has a different level of expectations for security than a small insurance office keeping social security numbers.  

It is the responsibility of the company who chooses a third party such as Denver DataMan to make sure that the company is keeping the data security when it is in their possession. Denver DataMan has always taken this very seriously and has a strict protocol for working with customer data.  Any vendor you work with and provide your customer data to should have these types of procedures in place. 

The law provides very clear guidance on the type of notice that must be given and how notice must be provided in the event that there is a security breach. 

State Seal The Attorney General's office not only has the ability to help collect economic damages. It also has been granted the authority to investigate and prosecute criminal violations of this law.  

The law will go into effect on the 1st of September 2018.    

 

This is not a legal opinion. For legal advice on the specifics of how this law pertains to you and your company make sure to contact your attorney.  

Have all the Breaches Breached the Public Trust

You do not have to look far to see examples of data breaches where data on the Internet is exfiltrated. Just last week Under Armour admitted to a large attack and as I am writing this, details are coming out about an attack on Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor stores. And who can forget the Equifax breach?  

If you are reading this blog, you probably work with data.  You probably are working with data that people trust you to secure. For example data like names, addresses, phone numbers, credit cards, social security numbers, health data, and more.  My hope would be that you take efforts to do this responsibly. Not everyone does.  

Here is the bigger challenge, even if you are taking precautions to manage data securely it might not be enough. There are many ways that bad actors enter networks or intercept data in order to access data that they do not have the rights to access. In this blog, I am not going to write about how to secure a network or a database. I want to write about if it is time for the government to regulate our use of personal data similar to the way it is being done in Europe, and how this affects the readers of this blog post. 

Trust IconI think we can all agree, that unless someones lives in the woods, without power or running water, it is impossible not to share your personal information with companies. This to me means that we have to accept that sharing data with companies is inevitable and therefore companies need to be bound to taking responsible care of personal data.   

A clear definition of personal information needs to be made. We need a reasonable standard of what personal information is and how a person can give permission to share that information.  For example, are both my first and last name private in all cases?  This is a very large task and one that needs to involve industry, consumer groups, the government, and very importantly IT experts.

We can look to European Union's General Data Protection Regulation but it would be a mistake to copy it outright.  We need something that fits the United States and what makes sense for the United States.   

States are considering action and we do not want this to happen on a state level. Imagine if an e-commerce store had to have different data storage standards for each state. You might even have to have multiple websites.  New Mexico could say that the data for residents of New Mexico must reside in the State.  

As a consumer who wants to know that there are standards for how my data is being protected a set of laws is important to me. As a business owner, I know that standards like these can be expensive to implement but are generally important.  As an IT expert, I know that change is a constant and I offer up any help I can be in crafting legislation on how we keep the personal data of US citizens safe.  

My idea to write this blog comes from the guest blog on VentureBeat by  Derek Weeks titled It’s time to regulate: The U.S. must make software companies liable for breaches


The opinions expressed in this blog are just that.  They are based on research and not with additional knowledge of any forthcoming laws in Colorado, the United States or other parts of the world.   I am not an attorney either so add a couple grains of salt for that as well.   

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