What Are Your Rights? New York Recently Passed The Shield Act

Man 1: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Interviewer: With data breaches becoming more and more common, many companies have started to step up their cybersecurity in an attempt to ward off would-be hackers. However, recent data breaches of unprecedented proportions involving Fortune 500 companies such as Marriott and Equifax have lawmakers wondering if big business is doing enough. In an attempt to protect consumers and their privacy, New York state lawmakers recently passed the Shield Act. Here to help examine this new law is managing partner, Paul Harding, from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Paul, welcome.

Paul: Thank you.

Interviewer: Thanks for being here. All right. So, what exactly is the Shield Act? Break that down for us.

Paul: Well, the Shield Act is trying to protect what we’re going to call “identity theft.” All right? Identity theft is something where they want to find out everything they can about you, create a new you, and then benefit illegally from all that information.

Interviewer: Do you feel this is going to actually help prevent data breaches?

Paul: Well, you know, what happens is you have certain companies that are very good at it and certain companies who are doing nothing. So, it set a minimum standard to protect consumer information. So, it is more than a step in the right direction. But again, they’re not going to stop this. It’s big business.

Interviewer: So, obviously hackers are trying to obtain any kind of personal information. Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, things like that. What does the Shield Act require if a breach occurs? And, how can our viewers protect themselves?

Paul: So, one of the things we saw in early breaches was companies were not coming clean. They were hoping they could kind of bring it all back in, and not really announce to the world that they had let their information go to hackers around the world. So, now it says, when there is a breach, you have to release it. Kind of a big deal. Secondly is, if there is a breach, they have to give you creditor monitoring services. So now you know if anything is going on that doesn’t look right, you get alerts, an alert, maybe you did open a bank account, but maybe you didn’t. So, that’s the stuff they’re doing. I think it’s the beginning. Hopefully it’s going to get a little stronger as time goes on.

Interviewer: Yeah, that was my next question. How do you see all of this playing out? Do you think more laws will go into effect?

Paul: I really do. I think this is just the beginning facing the new reality. Right? So, you know, this is sort of the new organized crime, you know. They’re finding a way, and they’re really, really organized too. And, they’re finding a way to get to all of us. We’ve all had something in our world that has gone down this road. I think we’re going to see more and more of it. I think New York is always on the front end of this, and that’s where we are right now.

Interviewer: All right, Paul. Thank you so much.

Paul: You’re welcome.