The privacy world has been abuzz with the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. In June 2018, within just a week, California passed this strict new privacy law. Some commentators have compared it to the GDPR, but it is a much more narrow law and is a far cry from the GDPR. Nevertheless, it is a significant entry in California’s considerable canon of privacy laws.
For the first half of 2018, all eyes were focused eastward on the EU with the start of GDPR enforcement this May. Now, all eyes are shifting westward based on a bold new law passed by California. By January 1, 2020, companies around the world will have to comply with additional regulations related to the processing of personal data of California residents. Pursuant to the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, companies must observe restrictions on data monetization business models, accommodate rights to access, deletion, and porting of personal data, update their privacy policies and brace for additional penalties and statutory damages. The California Legislature adopted and the Governor signed the bill on June 28, 2018 after an unusually rushed process in exchange for the proposed initiative measure No. 17-0039 regarding the Consumer Right to Privacy Act of 2018 (the “Initiative”) being withdrawn from the ballot the same day, the deadline for such withdrawals prior to the November 6, 2018 election.
Recently, HBO suffered a massive data breach. The hackers stole unreleased episodes of Game of Thrones and have been leaking them before they are broadcast. Episodes of other shows were also stolen. The hackers grabbed 1.5 terabytes of data including sensitive internal documents.
Privacy and cybersecurity have become issues that should be addressed at the board level. No longer minor risks, privacy and cybersecurity have become existential issues. The costs and reputational harm of privacy and security incidents can be devastating.
Yet not enough boards are adequately engaged with these issues. According to a survey last year, 58% of members of boards of directors believed that they should be actively involved in cyber security. But only 14% of them stated that they were actively involved.
The recent cases of Ebola in the United States demonstrate challenges to health privacy in today’s information age — both in preventing employees from snooping into patient information as well as preventing the disclosure of patient identities.