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Bar Buzz: Law firm, state team on privacy law guide

Given the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Facebook’s grievous data handling practices, lots of lawyers’ business clients are thinking about privacy and data protection these days. Attorney Michael R. Cohen has 161 pages of advice for them.

Cohen, principal attorney and privacy officer at Gray Plant Mooty, is the author of “A Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security 2019.” The report was produced in collaboration between Cohen’s firm and the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

This guide—written for non-lawyers—aims primarily at business. It outlines the legal issues related to privacy and data security and addresses both federal and Minnesota law.

On the federal side, it addresses the use and disclosure of medical and financial information, the FTC’s online behavioral advertising principles and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, among a range of other topics.

On the state front, it covers Internet service provider regulations, identity theft, breach notification laws and wiretap statutes, among other areas of law.

“While it is impossible for a business to become an expert in all of the laws related to data privacy and security,” the report’s introduction says, “it is our hope that this guide will at least provide a basic understanding of the wide variety of laws and how those laws may impact your business.”

Of note in the current edition is material on the California Consumer Privacy Act, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The law figures to impact any Minnesota business that collects California residents’ personal information.

“Privacy and data security continue to be evolving issues for businesses both here in Minnesota and across the country,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a written statement. Her agency’s partnership with Gray Plant Mooty, she said, has produced a strong best practices guide for Minnesota business leaders to follow.

The 2019 guide is free and available from Gray Plant Mooty by calling (612) 632-3000 or the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development at (651) 259-7474. Requests may be emailed to deed.mnsbao@state.mn.us.

A PDF version is available online at the Gray Plant Mooty website, https://www.gpmlaw.com/.

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