Thursday, July 25, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law two
bills that require businesses to implement more robust data security
safeguards, expanded the definition of private information and help guarantee
identity theft protections for victims of a breach at a credit reporting
agency. New York now joins a number of states revamping their breach
notification and data security laws and comes days after the Equifax Inc.
settlement with the states and the FTC.
Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (the “SHIELD Act”) amends
N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 899-aa by expanding the definition of private information
to include the following new categories: i) account numbers and credit or debit
card numbers without a security code, provided the number could be used to
access an individual’s financial account; ii) biometric information (including
a fingerprint or retina image); and iii) usernames or email addresses together
with passwords, or security questions and answers that could permit access to
an online account. Additionally, it expands the definition of a breach to
include the unauthorized access to private information in addition to
unauthorized acquisition of private information. Access can include viewing,
copying or downloading private information without valid authorization or by an
unauthorized person. Businesses that collect private information will
have to maintain “reasonable” data security and implement “reasonable”
administrative safeguards. Under the SHIELD Act, businesses are exempt
from issuing breach notifications when: i) “the exposure of private information
was an inadvertent disclosure by persons authorized to access the private
information and the person or business reasonably determines such exposure will
not likely result in misuse of such information” sufficient to pose any
financial or emotional harm; and ii) if the business has already sent out data
breach notifications as required under other federal or New York law (including
GLBA, HIPAA and NYDFS). Furthermore, the SHIELD Act amends N.Y. Gen. Bus.
Law § 899-aa to limit the time under which the New York Attorney General may
bring action against violators from three (3) years to two (2) years. The
SHIELD Act will take effect 240 days after it was signed into law, on March 21,
the Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Services Act amends N.Y. Gen. Bus.
Law § 380-t to require credit reporting agencies to provide five (5) years of
identity theft prevention and mitigation services and to provide information on
credit freezes to victims of a data breach at a credit reporting agency.
The Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Services Act will take effect 60
days after it was signed into law, on September 23, 2019.
privacy law updates apply to any person or entity with access to private
information of a New York state resident, regardless of whether they conduct
business in the state. Companies impacted by these amendments should consider
the potential impact on their current policies and procedures.
Additionally, companies should ensure that their information security programs
comply with the SHIELD Act’s required data security safeguards. A copy of the
SHIELD Act can be found here
and a copy of the Identity Theft Prevention and Mitigation Services Act can be
If you have any questions, please contact one of this Alert's authors: Michael
P. O'Mullan at email@example.com,
Labinot Alexander Berlajolli at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Daniel J. Parziale at email@example.com,
or any other attorney in Riker Danzig’s Cyber Security & Data Privacy
Security & Data Privacy Partners:
Michael P. O’Mullan
Maura C. Smith
J. Zarillo, Jr.