Maryland recently passed two companion bills amending the state’s Personal Information Protection Act. The bills modify the data breach notification requirements and scope of businesses subject to the data security requirements. The key changes are summarized below, and will go into effect October 1 of this year:

  1. Expanded scope of data security requirements: The requirement to implement and maintain “reasonable” security measures will also apply to businesses that maintain personal information of Maryland residents (and not just those who own or license such information).
  2. Expanded definition of personal information: The definition of genetic information has been revised and expanded. This change follows a similar update California made to its breach notification law.
  3. Additional notice requirements to the Attorney General: Additional information must now be provided in any notice to the Attorney General. This includes the number of affected Maryland individuals and a description of the breach, including when and how it occurred. It also includes steps the company has taken or plans to take relating to the security of the system, and a sample notice sent to affected individuals.
  4. Impacts to Timing Requirements: Businesses that maintain personal data must notify the owner of the data of a breach as soon as practicable, but within 10 (formerly 45) days of discovering or being notified of the breach. While in some cases, companies maintaining information may have shorter notification obligations by contract, this is a fairly aggressive statutorily imposed timing requirement. For businesses owning or licensing personal information whose notification is delayed because of circumstances surrounding a law enforcement investigation, notification must be made as soon as reasonably practicable, but with seven (previously 30) days after the law enforcement agency determines that notification will not impede an investigation. This is if the original 45-day period has lapsed or by the end of the original 45-day period.

Putting it Into Practice: Beginning October 1, 2022 companies who suffer a breach impacting Maryland residents will want to keep in mind these changes. Namely, the expanded definition of personal information, shortened notification timelines, and content requirements for regulator notification.