The State of the State: U.S. Government Data Breaches

"Head in Hands" by Alex E. Proimos. Shot on December 14, 2009 at Monnaie, Paris, France. Available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/4199675334/. Published under a Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license.

Government data breaches run the gamut, but recently we are hearing about years-old security vulnerabilities that are not discovered by the government agencies themselves, but by outsiders. Plus, a review of the broad numbers regarding U.S. government data breaches of the past four years.

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Implementation of Privacy by Design and Technical and Organizational Security Measures: The Data Masking Solution

The European Union is working on a revised set of rules for its data protection framework. The concept and principles of “privacy by design” has been incorporated in this draft. We will assess how data masking can be considered an effective data security measure and whether data masking fulfills privacy by design principles. Data masking is not encryption. It is a technique that provides for the replacement of real data with fictitious but realistic data in test environments.

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“Is Your Company under Threat? New Digital Risks & Computer Attacks: Forensic & Data Protection Aspects” (Conference in Medellin, Colombia, Nov. 16, 2011)

Conference: "Is Your Company at Risk? New Digital Risks and Computer Attacks: Forensic and Data Protection Aspects - International Perspectives and the New Colombian Legislation" (EAFIT, Medellin, Colombia - 16 Nov. 2011)

“Is Your Company at Risk? New Digital Risks and Computer Attacks: Forensic and Data Protection Aspects – International Perspectives and the New Colombian Legislation.” A conference (in Spanish) about the recent Colombian data protection law, on Nov. 16, 2011 at the Universidad EAFIT in Medellin, Colombia.

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ENISA Surveys Stakeholders of Upcoming EU Data Breach Notification Regime

"Grillage gelé" (Photo by "Photophilius"; shot on Dec. 13, 2008). Available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/30254220@N04/3116313871/ (Creative Commons "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)" license.)

The European Network and Information Security Agency has recently published a report on data breach notifications in the European Union. ENISA surveyed data protection authorities, telecommunications regulatory authorities and telecom operators from different countries in the EU, but also from other non-EU countries such as the United States.
Using the various stakeholders’ responses, the report helps understand the practices and challenges of the future mandatory data breach notification regime, and aims to assist public authorities and private organizations in the EU as they implement data breach notification policies by providing a set of recommendations.
(Résumé aussi disponible en français)

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Will France adopt a law requiring the notification of security breaches?

A French bill “to better guarantee the right to privacy in the digital age” has implemented the European Directive 2009/136/EC by requiring the data controller to inform the “Data Protection Correspondent” (a person within an organization who could be the controller or someone assisting the controller), or in the absence thereof, the French data protection authority (the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés), of a breach of integrity or confidentiality. Those involved in the breach must also be informed, at least if security breaches are “likely to adversely affect” their personal data. The bill follows the recommendation of the Directive to notify individuals of security breaches for all sectors, not just electronic communications. It was adopted by the French Senate on March 24, 2010 and is currently before the National Assembly.
(A French version of this article is also available in this blog.)

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Are ‘clouds’ located outside the European Union unlawful?

A central aspect of every cloud service contract is the security of data processing. It is therefore important, if only for liability reasons, that responsibility for specific security measures be clearly assigned. This can be done by using security service level agreements between the cloud service provider and its client that clearly assign who is responsible for which particular security measure.
Storing data in a cloud located outside the EU raises specific legal compliance issues. According to some experts, such clouds are even unlawful. There are, however, some ways to make sure that, even if a data controller stores data into a cloud located in a third country, he is still in compliance with German data protection law. A data exporter must use, in order to satisfy the adequate level of data protection requirement, specific standard contractual clauses for all contracts with a cloud service company located outside the EU. Binding corporate rules are the alternative solution, though only for private clouds.

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Canada May Soon Have a Data Breach Law

Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement introduced a bill on May 25, the Safeguarding Canadian’s Personal Information Act (C-29), which would amend Canada’s national privacy legislation, the Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act of 1998 (“PIPEDA”). C-29 would introduce a security breach disclosure (also called “notification” in the United States) requirement in PIPEDA. Canada does not yet have such a law, contrary to the United States where the majority of states have enacted data breach notification statutes.

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