Seyfarth Synopsis: This past Monday, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its final rule aimed at strengthening the HIPAA Privacy rules as they are applied to reproductive health data.

On the heels of the release of the 2022 US Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Biden Administration directed the Federal agencies to examine what they could do to protect women’s health and privacy. Shortly thereafter, HHS released guidance under HIPAA related to reproductive health care services under a health plan, focusing on information required to be disclosed by law, for law enforcement purposes, and to avert a serious threat to health or safety (see our earlier Alert here). Then, in April 2023, HHS issued proposed modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule aimed at these concerns. A year later, the agency finalized those rules on April 22, 2024 – the Final Rule.Continue Reading HHS Strengthens HIPAA Rules to Protect Reproductive Health Privacy

This blog has been cross-posted on the Consumer Class Defense site.

Anyone following trends in consumer class action litigation will know that consumer privacy was a primary focus of the plaintiff’s bar in 2023. And there are no signs this uptick in consumer privacy claims is slowing any time soon. Although the claims center around use of tracking technology or analytics functions on consumer facing websites, several different statutes and claims have been asserted, including violations of state wiretap statutes and the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”).  

Although these cases are largely at the motion to dismiss stage, and therefore there is little insight into how certain key defenses will play out, some recent decisions surrounding VPPA claims have shifted the landscape in certain defendant’s favor.Continue Reading Is the Video Privacy Protection Act Losing its Allure?

Employers looking to enhance their suite of employee benefit programs, and focused on lessons learned during the pandemic on wellbeing, are interested in providing greater access to wellness tools. And, the vendors who support those tools are more than happy to provide them. Global spend in the health and wellness market would be around $24.8 billion in 2023 according to a study by Kilo Health. Wellness apps and wearables abound in all sorts of areas — from counting steps to nutrition to mental health to physical fitness to financial fitness. These tools are relatively inexpensive to provide and easily accessible to the workforce – many times with just a simple download to a smartphone. And, best of all they’re completely private with no middle man, and only the employee seeing their own data and progress. Right? Well — not so fast.Continue Reading Wellness Apps and Privacy

With so many companies being hauled into court in California based on claims that the functionalities on their website and use of service providers for marketing or analytics purposes violate consumer privacy rights, it is important to exhaust all possible defenses available to defendants. Late last year, the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling upholding a dismissal based on a lack of personal jurisdiction over a web-based payment company. Companies operating interactive websites may be able to take advantage of this ruling as part of their defense strategy in 2024.Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Opinion Supports Personal Jurisdiction Defense for Interactive Websites

The California Privacy Protection Agency (“CPPA”) issued and discussed draft regulations on Cybersecurity Audits and Risk Assessments late in the summer. The CPPA Board plans to discuss the draft regulations at its upcoming December 8th public meeting, along with a presentation on the regulations. Continue Reading CPPA Considers Next Set of CPRA Regulations Covering Cybersecurity Audits and Risk Assessments

On October 5, 2023, Seyfarth offered a Masterclass, hosted by Lexology, which was designed to familiarize in-house counsel and privacy professionals, in and out of Washington state, with the My Health My Data Act legislation. Portions of the Act are already in effect and go into further effect on March 31, 2024.

We explored its

As organizations begin renewing and entering into new contractual relationships for 2024, an oft-forgotten aspect of the contracting process is determining whether a Business Associate Agreement (a “BAA”) is required. Under HIPAA, health care providers, health plans and health care clearinghouses (“Covered Entities”) are required to enter into BAAs with any vendor (“Business Associate”) that may have access to Protected Health Information (“PHI”). Many organizations operate under a misconception that they are not subject to HIPAA if they are not in the health care industry but, in fact, HIPAA’s reach is much broader than that. For example, organizations that sponsor health plans, including employers that sponsor self-funded plans, are responsible for their health plans’ compliance with HIPAA, including the requirement to enter into BAAs with plan vendors. As another example, information technology organizations providing services to employers that offer health plans may be asked to sign a BAA as a Business Associate if they have access to data on the employer’s systems that may constitute PHI.Continue Reading Top 5 Reasons to Remember Your Business Associate Agreements This Fall

Thursday, October 5, 2023
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. CT
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MT
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PT

REGISTER HERE

About the Program

Seyfarth is pleased to offer this Masterclass, hosted by Lexology, which is designed to familiarize in-house counsel and privacy professionals, in and

This blog post is co-authored by Seyfarth Shaw and The Chertoff Group and has been cross-posted with permission.

What Happened

On July 26, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted its Cybersecurity Risk Management, Strategy, Governance, and Incident Disclosure final rule on a 3-2 vote. The final rule is a modified version of the SEC’s earlier Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released in March 2022. The final rule formalizes and expands on existing interpretive guidance requiring disclosure of “material” cybersecurity incidents.Continue Reading SEC Publishes Public Company Cybersecurity Disclosure Final Rule

On July 10th, the European Commission issued its Implementing Decision regarding the adequacy of the EU-US Data Privacy Framework (“DPF”). The Decision has been eagerly awaited by US and Europe based commerce, hoping it will help business streamline cross-Atlantic data transfers, and by activists who have vowed to scrutinize the next framework arrangement (thereby maintaining their relevance). Regardless of the legal resiliency of the decision, it poses an interesting set of considerations for US businesses, not the least of which is whether or not to participate in the Framework.

For those who followed the development and demise of the Privacy Shield program and the Schrems II case, it has been apparent for some time that the fundamental objection of the activists and the Court of Justice of the EU (“CJEU”) to the original Privacy Shield was the perception that the US intelligence community had an ability to engage in disproportional data collection without any possibility of recourse by EU residents whose personal information may be swept into an investigation. The actual functioning of the program for the certifying businesses were much less controversial.

Since the structure of the program wasn’t the primary reason for Privacy Shield’s revocation, from a business perspective, the current DPF looks a lot like the old Privacy Shield. For businesses who made the decision to participate in the Privacy Shield program in the past, the operational burden shouldn’t be much different under the new DPF, if they have already taken steps to operationalize the requirements.

What is interesting about the new DPF is how it may impact a company’s decision to choose  between the Standard Contractual Clauses (“SCCs”) and the alternative adequacy mechanism for transfers. There is also some interest vis-à-vis the DPF and its interactions with state privacy laws.Continue Reading Adequacy for the US (kind of) – But What Are the Side Effects?