Effective January 1, 2020, New Hampshire’s new Insurance Data Security Law will impose certain information security requirements on entities that (1) are licensed under the state’s insurance laws and (2) handle “nonpublic information.” “Nonpublic information” is defined as information that is not publicly available and falls into one of the two following categories:

  1. Information that

Last week, the FTC sent a closing letter to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan  Stanley”) relating to the agency’s investigation over whether Morgan Stanley engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices by failing to secure certain account information related to its Wealth Management clients.

The investigation examined allegations that a Morgan Stanley employee

On Tuesday, the California Attorney General released the second annual data breach report, summarizing the 167 data breaches reported to the Attorney General’s office in 2013, and providing privacy and security recommendations for businesses. According to the report, the retail, finance, and healthcare industries reported over 60 percent of the 167 breaches, over half

Updating a prior post, the Ninth Circuit, in Ruiz v. Gap, Inc., recently upheld a dismissal on summary judgment on the grounds that the mere risk of identity theft is too speculative of an injury to substantiate a cause of action based on negligence. See Ruiz v. Gap, Inc., No. 09-15971, 2010 WL 2170993 (9th Cir. May 28, 2010)

As background, Plaintiff, Mr. Joel Ruiz, submitted an online job application to work in a Gap store. As part of the application, Ruiz provided his social security number. Gap later disclosed that laptops were stolen from Vangent, the vendor with whom Gap had contracted for recruiting purposes. The laptops contained Ruiz’s unencrypted personal information, along with the information of nearly 800,000 other Gap job applicants.

Ruiz filed a putative class action alleging, among other things, negligence and violation of California Civil Code § 1798.85. Ruiz later amended his complaint to bring a breach of contract claim against Vangent. As discussed in a prior post, the court previously denied a motion to dismiss on the negligence claim. However, defendants were granted summary judgment on the negligence claim after discovery had done little to cure its speculative nature. See Ruiz v. Gap, Inc., 622 F. Supp. 2d 908 (N.D. Cal. 2009). The court held that an increased risk of identity theft did not constitute “the level of appreciable harm necessary to assert a negligence claim under California law.” Id. at 913.

In the opinion, the Ninth Circuit held that while the increased risk of identity theft created sufficient concern to grant plaintiff Article III standing, the alleged injury was still too speculative to sustain a negligence claim under California law. See Ruiz v. Gap, Inc., No. 09-15971, 2010 WL 2170993, at *1 (9th Cir. May 28, 2010). “It is fundamental that a negligent act is not accountable unless it results in injury to another.” Id. Notably, the court refrained from answering whether money spent on credit monitoring, as the result of personal information theft, supported a negligence claim. Id. However, the court included a footnote citing authority in favor of awarding medical monitoring costs, thus suggesting that it might be inclined to draw a parallel between these issues in the future. Id. at n1.


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Allison v. Aetna, Inc., a recent opinion out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, adds to the burgeoning area of law that holds when a plaintiff fails to allege an actual injury resulting from a data breach, but instead only alleges an enhanced risk of identity theft, an injury-in-fact does not exist and the

A recent study released by the Identity Theft Resource Center (“ITRC”), a non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the prevention of identity theft, suggests that in 2009, while the government appeared to be improving data security, the protection of customers’ private information by some businesses may have worsened. The annual ITRC study is funded by the U.S.