Recent activity by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) highlight the continued focus by government regulators on cybersecurity. As these and other regulators take an increasingly assertive enforcement posture, companies should be proactive about structuring their cybersecurity compliance programs to avoid fines, safeguard sensitive data, and protect their reputation.
On July 26, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) finalized a much anticipated rule addressing cybersecurity risk management, strategy, governance, and incident disclosure. Public companies registered with the SEC will soon be required to report material cybersecurity incidents within four business days of determining the incident to be material and to make periodic disclosures regarding cybersecurity risk management, strategy, and governance.
On April 26, 2021, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided the case of McMorris v. Carlos Lopez & Assocs., No. 19-4310, 2021 WL 1603808 (2d Cir. Apr. 26, 2021) and addressed one of the most critical issues in private data breach class actions – whether victims of a data breach can establish Article III standing by alleging they are at an increased risk of identity theft or fraud, even if their personal data has not yet been misused.
Although the district court’s ruling that plaintiffs did not establish standing was upheld, the Second Circuit found that victims of a data breach can establish standing based on a risk of future identity theft or fraud. The court also put forward a three-factor test to determine if standing exists when misuse of plaintiffs’ data has not yet occurred.
Earlier this month, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) announced a settlement and consent order with National Securities Corporation (National Securities) for $3 million in connection with National Securities’ violations of NYDFS’s Cybersecurity Regulation, 23 NYCRR Part 500 (Part 500).
National Securities sells life insurance, accident and health insurance, and variable life/variable annuities insurance. As part of its day-to-day operations, National Securities collects personal data from its customers.
On March 3, 2021, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) announced a settlement with Residential Mortgage Services, Inc. (RMS) for $1.5 million in connection with its violation of the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation, 23 NYCRR Part 500 (Part 500). This is the second publicly-announced settlement of an enforcement action brought under NYDFS’s novel cybersecurity regulation (we wrote about the first action).
According to the consent order, in March 2020, NYDFS’ Mortgage Banking Division commenced a routine examination of RMS, which included a review of its compliance with Part 500. RMS is headquartered in Maine, but it is registered as mortgage banker in New York and other states. During the examination, NYDFS determined that RMS failed to report a March 2019 data breach incident, as required by Part 500.
On February 4, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a critical opinion addressing Article III standing in private data breach actions, which has been the subject of a closely watched circuit split.
The case, Tsao v Captiva MVP Restaurant Partners LLC, originated in the District Court for the Middle District of Florida where the plaintiff filed a class action complaint against the restaurant chain PDQ in connection with a May 2017 data breach. Following the breach, PDQ posted a notice to customers regarding the breach, explaining that customers’ names, credit card numbers, card expiration dates and CVVs may have been exposed.