Privacy and Data Security Alert

Massachusetts Gives Businesses Until January 1, 2010 to Adopt Information Security Programs To Comply With Recent Identity Theft Regulations

February 13, 2009

On Thursday, February 12, 2009, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) issued a public statement indicating that it is extending the May 1, 2009 deadline to comply with recent Massachusetts identity theft regulations until January 1, 2010.

The Massachusetts identity theft regulations affect entities that own, license, store or maintain personal information, including social security numbers, state identification numbers and financial account information, about any Massachusetts residents. Individuals and businesses covered by the regulations must evaluate existing security measures and implement written information security programs by January 1, 2010.

In the OCABR press release, Daniel C. Crane, undersecretary of the OCABR, indicated that the new deadline acknowledges that many businesses are having trouble complying with the new regulations in the wake of recent economic pressures. “We understand the impact of the current business environment, and feel this is an appropriate timeframe for companies to implement the necessary protections.”

The new deadline makes clear that the OCABR is willing to give businesses additional time to improve information security measures, but also that regulators want all affected businesses to meet the new security standards by 2010. For most affected businesses, the new deadline does not mean they should delay their compliance efforts. Many businesses will need the additional time to analyze existing security threats and implement the necessary administrative, physical and electronic security measures.

Foley Hoag is advising clients developing information security programs in compliance with the Massachusetts regulations, as well as other federal, state and international laws regarding information security and identity theft.

Author: Gabriel M. Helmer