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Arizona governor amends data breach law, updates security freeze legislation

Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security State Issues State Legislation Data Breach Security Freeze

Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

On April 11, the Arizona governor signed HB 2154 to amend the state’s existing data breach notification law. The amendments require entities conducting business in the state that maintain, own, or licenses unencrypted and unredacted computerized data to conduct a reasonable investigation of possible breaches of personal information. Owners or licensees of personal information must then notify affected individuals within 45 days, pending the needs of law enforcement. Key amendment highlights are as follows:

  • makes revisions to definitions, which include (i) expanding “personal information” to include a combination of a user’s name, password/security question, and answer that grants access to an online account; (ii) defining the term “redact”; and (iii) clarifying that a “specified data element” now includes an individual’s unique “private key” used when authenticating or signing an electronic record;
  • adds a requirement that for breaches impacting more than 1,000 individuals, the Attorney General and the three largest consumer reporting agencies must be notified in writing;
  • amends a provision concerning “substitute notice,” which removes requirements that a notification must to be sent to affected individuals via email as well as notifying major statewide media. The amendments now stipulate that an entity is required to notify the Attorney General’s office in writing to demonstrate the reasons for substitute notice in addition to posting a notice on the entity’s website for at least 45 days; and
  • clarifies a section that states entities are no longer required to notify affected individuals if an independent third-party forensic auditor or law enforcement agency “determines after a reasonable investigation that a security system breach has not resulted in or is not reasonably likely to result in substantial economic loss to affected individuals.”

Separately, on April 3, the governor signed SB 1163, which amends existing law to prohibit credit reporting agencies from charging a fee to a consumer for the placement, removal, or temporary lifting of a security freeze. Moreover, it prevents credit reporting agencies from charging fees for replacing a lost personal identification number or password. 

Both bills are scheduled to take effect 91 days after the end of the legislative session.

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