Data Privacy

American businesses spend an average of $7.01 million on a single data breach, including the price of notifying potentially affected individuals and ensuing legal costs. As the amount of data collected from and about people explodes, the number of breaches has also grown. Companies affected by data breaches subsequently face significant enforcement by federal and state regulators, as well as litigation by opportunistic plaintiffs' lawyers. Data privacy, as a result, is predicted to become “the new asbestos.” Reforms can help curb unreasonable costs to businesses while still providing relief to those who have truly been harmed. read more...

Information holders no longer just have to worry about whether employees are disposing of data correctly—from domestic hackers to hostile foreign governments, cyberattacks have grown in number and in sophistication. As businesses work to navigate the evolving landscape, they find themselves bombarded by federal and state regulators using outdated laws, to plaintiffs seeking large settlements despite showing no actual injury from a data breach.

It is unclear for businesses what the scope of their liability is and to whom. The U.S. has a patchwork of federal laws intended to protect personal information. At the same time, states have passed their own laws, which impose different (and sometimes contradictory) requirements for data privacy, including when and how victims of data breaches must notify their customers. Regulators have struggled to keep pace with the rising number of incidents and individuals’ concerns, with the result being a piecemeal, hastily-assembled legal regime.

A standard federal law governing breach notification requirements, preempting state laws, would provide much-needed predictability for businesses and protect them from abusive and overlapping enforcement. There is public support for this commonsense solution. Only those who are actually at risk or who have been harmed by a data breach should get notice or be able to sue.

Moreover, vague laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices, from Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act to similar state laws, are ripe for abuse; the FTC and some state attorneys general have broadly wielded them to go after businesses’ privacy and security practices. To make matters worse, individual and class action plaintiffs, led by the plaintiff’s bar, have jumped on the bandwagon as well.

It is important that privacy laws address real harms and place reasonable limits on liability while discouraging meritless suits that simply take advantage of businesses. Holding businesses to impossible standards and allowing excessive and duplicative litigation hurts Americans and the economy.


The ILR Research Review - Spring 2017

May 08, 2017 | This edition of the ILR Research Review offers valuable insights from ILR's recent research on the latest trends in litigation and the tactics and strategies entrepreneurial plaintiffs' firms are using to expand their business models and bring more lawsuits in local, state, federal, and international courts.

Engineered Liability: The Plaintiffs' Bar's Campaign to Expand Data Privacy and Security Litigation

April 19, 2017 | As data breaches are becoming more commonplace, the plaintiffs' bar is engineer a staggering expansion of liability in the areas of privacy and data security. Class action lawyers are pursuing data privacy cases and amassing fortunes even where no one has been harmed. This paper examines the data privacy and security legal landscape, plaintiffs' bar tactics, major cases and settlements, and a suggested framework for reform.

All Results for Data Privacy

In the News Today - February 21, 2018

February 21, 2018 | News and Blog

SCOTUS Won't Review CareFirst Data Breach Standing Row; SCOTUS Won't Review CareFirst Data Breach Standing Row Read More »

In the News Today - February 15, 2018

February 15, 2018 | News and Blog

Congress Urged to Adopt National Data Breach Standard; 7th Circ. Wants Extra Briefing On Fees In TCPA Cruise Deal Read More »

Top 10 Legal Reform Research Topics of 2017

January 11, 2018 | News and Blog

Review ILR's wide-ranging top ten legal reform research topics from 2017 and gain insights for 2018. Read More »

In the News Today - December 28, 2017

December 28, 2017 | News and Blog

Cybersecurity Spending at Law Firms, Legal Departments Is Predicted to Increase in 2018 Read More »

In the News Today - December 12, 2017

December 12, 2017 | News and Blog

Why Companies Should Prepare for More Data Breach Lawsuits Read More »

In the News Today - December 11, 2017

December 11, 2017 | News and Blog

Insurance Commissioners Roll Out Model Cybersecurity Law; New York Plaintiffs' Firm Has Filed At Least 140 Website Accessibility Lawsuits since 2015 Read More »

In the News Today - December 7, 2017

December 07, 2017 | News and Blog

7th Circ. Wary Of Reviving Barnes & Noble Breach Action; 3rd Circuit says Marathon can challenge Delaware law later Read More »

In the News Today - November 14, 2017

November 14, 2017 | News and Blog

Proposed Ohio Bill Would Shield ‘Proactive' Defendants From Data Breach Litigation Read More »

In the News Today - October 3, 2017

November 03, 2017 | News and Blog

Biz Groups Push FTC To Avoid 'Theoretical' Privacy Harms; California small businesses are vulnerable to mass-produced litigation Read More »

In the News Today - November 1, 2017

November 01, 2017 | News and Blog

Judge Advises Tossing Last Nationwide Data-Breach Claims Read More »

  • bulletClick to Narrow Your Results
  • 2017 Legal Reform Summit Recap