On Thursday, March 26, 2020, the Senate passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economy Security Act (the “CARES Act”), which provides economic relief for individuals, businesses and industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, some provisions specifically relate to nascent privacy and data security concerns to be addressed both during and after the pandemic:
- Financial Assistance for Training: Qualifying small businesses and minority owned businesses may apply for financial assistance in the form of grants to cover training and advising for employees on risks of and mitigation of cybersecurity threats in remote customer service or telework practices. The economic landscape following the COVID-19 pandemic will highlight businesses’ increased reliance upon technology, and the nascent need for increased attention to data security education. The financial assistance available to small and minority-owned businesses provides a great opportunity for companies to get ahead of the curve with respect to myriad information security threats.
- Credit Reporting: The Fair Credit Reporting Act is revised so that furnishers of consumer and payment information, who make an accommodation with respect to one or more payments on a consumer’s account or credit obligation, must report the account or obligation as “current,” unless it was delinquent prior to the accommodation.
- Public Health Service Act Amended to Conform with HIPAA: The Public Health Service Act is amended to include breach notification and consent requirements consistent with HIPAA. In addition, within one year after the date of enactment, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall update 45 C.F.R 164.520 so that covered entities and entities creating or maintaining records relating to substance abuse education, training, treatment, and research shall provide easily understandable notices of privacy practices. As a result, some entities not currently regulated by HIPAA will need to adapt to some of the HIPAA requirements related to breach notification and notice of privacy practices.
- Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency: $9 million is allocated for supply chain and information analysis, as well as impacted critical infrastructure coordination.
- Funding for Public Health Surveillance: $500 million is allocated for public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure modernization.
Obviously, the CARES Act was not designed to be a comprehensive privacy and data security bill. However, these provisions provide an opportunity and incentive for companies to consider how data governance practices can fit into their future plans.
Now, more than ever, information privacy and security best practices should be incorporated into any company’s business planning whether for crisis-driven or “normal” operations. Doing a little can have a huge impact. The following Taft resources provide more information on ways to improve your overall data governance planning.
- COVID-19 Bulletin: Sending Employees Home? Don’t compromise information security in the process.
- Don’t Let COVID-19 Lure You In: Phishing and Malware Attacks Skyrocket During Coronavirus Crisis.
- What GCs can be doing to better manage the risk of a data breach.
- Kiss that money goodbye! Why you must scrutinize payment processing changes at every level of your business.
- Yet Another Facebook Breach: Use this opportunity to get smart about your online privacy and security.
- Why Do You Need an Incident Response Plan.