Massachusetts | Data Breach Law

January 3, 2018

Massachusetts | Data Breach Law

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Notification Regulations

In Massachusetts, any business that experiences a data breach must notify affected MA residents as soon as possible through mail or electronic means. If the security breach affects more than 500,000 people, or the cost of notification exceeds $250,000, public service announcements can be used in lieu of individual contact. The state attorney general, Director of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and any relevant consumer-reporting agencies must also be notified.

Name of Law / Statute N/A
Definition of Protected Information Combination of (1) name or other identifying info, PLUS (2) one or more of these “data” elements: SSN; driver’s license number; or account number, credit card number, debit card number if accompanied by PIN, password, or access codes.
Who Is Subject to Law? Persons, agencies, or business entities that maintain, store, own, or license data including PI of residents
Notification of Consumers? Yes
By what means? Written or electronic; specific regulations re: what can and cannot be included in notice
Substitute Notice Threshold? If cost of notice >$250,000 or involves >500k residents
Notification of authorities / regulators required? Yes
By what means? N/A
Regulatory Fines Up to $5000/violation + cost of investigation + attorney fees
Credit monitoring requirement? No
Private lawsuits allowed? Yes, only if AG finds violation of consumer fraud; class action available
Private damages cap? Actual economic damages; sometimes treble damages
Regulatory actions allowed? Yes
HIPAA Compliance exemption? N/A
Other  (e.g., timeframe) No consumer notification if PI was encrypted, but notification of AG still necessary unless business can prove encryption was not compromised; law requires implementation of data security system after breach
Link to complete law

Learn more about Massachusetts’s data breach law.