Two U.S. States Enact New Privacy/Cybersecurity Laws

  • By Dawna M. Roberts
  • Jul 28, 2021

 While the federal government boosts funding for cybersecurity programs and enacts new laws to protect individuals and businesses against cyberattacks, some states are pushing through their own laws to secure things.

What is Going On

Connecticut and Colorado have both implemented new laws to protect citizens’ privacy and better security infrastructure. Data Breach Today reported that “Connecticut has enacted a law designed to give certain legal protections to businesses that adhere to cybersecurity frameworks. And a new data privacy law in Colorado allows individuals to opt-out of data collection.”

On July 2, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed into law the Cybersecurity Standards Act. The new law mimics Ohio and Utah in terms of offering businesses incentives for implementing cybersecurity protections.

Data Breach Today mentions that “The  Colorado Privacy Act, signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday, grants residents the right to access, correct and delete personal data held by organizations. When the law goes into effect July 1, 2023, state residents will also be able to opt-out of the sale of their information and the processing of their personal data for targeted advertising. Colorado joins California and Virginia as the only states with comprehensive privacy measures.”

The Colorado law uses language from the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Data Breach Today explains, “The Colorado law provides consumers with the right to:

  • Access their personal data.
  • Correct inaccuracies in the data or delete it.
  • Obtain a usable format of the data.
  • Opt-out of the processing of personal data for the purposes of targeted advertising and the sale of the data, including a universal, one-click opt-out option.
  • Appeal a business’s denial to take action.

The maximum penalty for each violation of the Colorado law is $20,000, compared with $7,500 under the Virginia law.”

cybersecurity laws

Protection vs. Punishment

The Connecticut law protects businesses against any punitive actions after a data breach if they have previously taken steps to implement “reasonable” security protocols. As long as the organization has created a formal cybersecurity plan (in writing) and executed it using administrative, technical, and physical security measures, the courts cannot charge the company damages after a data breach.

However, the catch, according to Data Breach Today, is that “The new state law stipulates that organizations must conform with revisions and amendments to industry-recognized cybersecurity frameworks, laws and regulations within six months after any changes are published.”

Because there is no national standard or guidelines set forth, it is difficult for companies to know what is “reasonable.” Curtis Dukes, Executive Vice President of the Center for Internet Security, says that “Connecticut’s cybersecurity bill introduces a critical interim step - incentivizing the adoption of cyber best practices … to improve cybersecurity and protect citizen data.”

The new law requires that companies use one of these frameworks to comply and avoid any punitive damage assessments.

  • “Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity from the National Institute for Standards and Technology.
  • NIST special publications  800-171 or 800-53 and 800-53a.
  • Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FedRAMP, Security Assessment Framework.
  • Center for Internet Security controls.
  • ISO 27000 series.
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, or PCI-DSS.”

Additionally, the law requires entities to comply with the following federal laws:

Connecticut’s state Rep Caroline Simmons, who introduced the bill, says, “In Connecticut, we took a step to accomplish this voluntarily without regulation by incentivizing organizations to adopt cyber best practices.”

The concern is that many organizations may not be able to determine what “reasonable” security measures mean.

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