Industry News

California adds biometric specs to data breach law

California is changing its Information Practices Act of 1977 to expand the definition of personal information with additional identifiers, including biometric data of those affected. The amendment comes with new instructions on how to notify affected parties by a breach.

The California Legislative Information website describes how the existing law defines and regulates the use of personal information by public agencies and businesses as follows:

“The Information Practices Act of 1977 requires a public agency, as defined, that owns or licenses computerized data that includes personal information to disclose any breach of the security of the system following discovery or notification of the breach, as specified. Existing law imposes the same duty on a person or business in California that owns or licenses computerized data that includes personal information and generally requires that such a business implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices. Existing law authorizes a person or business that is required to issue a security breach notification to include in that notification specified information.”

The legislation is old and uses a definition too broad to describe personal information in all the shapes and forms found today. As such, amendment AB 1130, approved by California Governor Gavin Newsom last week, seeks to expand the definition of personal information to add “specified unique biometric data and tax identification numbers, passport numbers, military identification numbers, and unique identification numbers issued on a government document in addition to those for driver’s licenses and California identification cards to these provisions.”

Breached entities must also notify other entities that used the same type of biometric data as an authenticator to no longer rely on that data for authentication if the data has been compromised.

Breached entities must also direct the party whose personal information has been breached to promptly change their password and security question or answer, or to take steps to protect the online account associated with that person or business.

A template form is also included to outline how entities are to inform affected parties after a data breach.

About the author

Filip TRUTA

Filip is an experienced writer with over a decade of practice in the technology realm. He has covered a wide range of topics in such industries as gaming, software, hardware and cyber-security, and has worked in various B2B and B2C marketing roles. Filip currently serves as Information Security Analyst with Bitdefender.

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