March 20, 2018

PA attorney general seeks stronger enforcement of data breach notification laws

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Josh Shapiro took action on Monday to preserve Pennsylvania’s authority to enforce its own data breach notification law, opposing legislation in Congress that would preempt state data breach and data security laws.

Shapiro and 30 other attorneys general wrote to Congress expressing concerns with legislation that would preempt state data breach laws that require notice to consumers and state attorneys general of breaches when they occur.

“We’ve joined together in a bipartisan manner to say clearly to the federal government – do not take away our authority as states to protect our citizens,” Shapiro said. “These data breaches will keep happening until we force change in corporate behavior and hold companies accountable. “This is exactly the wrong time for Congress to pass legislation that would lessen protections for consumers, who have the right to learn about breaches affecting their data as soon as they occur. I’m fighting against it.”

Two weeks ago, Shapiro filed his office’s first-ever lawsuit under Pennsylvania’s Breach of Personal Information Notification Act, against the ride-sharing company Uber, based on a data breach impacting 600,000 Uber drivers in the United States – including 13,500 drivers in Pennsylvania.

Instead of notifying customers and drivers of the data breach within a reasonable amount of time – as required under Pennsylvania law – Uber hid the incident for more than a year and actually paid the hackers responsible for the breach to delete the data and keep quiet, according to the lawsuit Attorney General Shapiro’s office filed in state court.

In a letter to Congress, Shapiro and his 28 colleagues argue that any federal law must not diminish the important role of states in addressing data breaches and identity theft, especially in states like Pennsylvania with their own laws that provide greater protections than federal proposals.

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