Now that 50 states have enacted data breach notification laws, online authors are going out of their way to provide summaries of each state's law. Some authors have created charts that do a section-by-section comparison of the language of each statute. While charts and summaries can be a useful way to introduce you to a state's law, it's important to recognize the limits of these tools, and to take away the appropriate lessons from each.
1. Data security is a universal concern. The first take-away is that data security, data privacy and cyber security are of national importance. If they weren't 50 states wouldn't have passed the laws they did. Cyber is a here-to-stay aspect of business operations.
2. A summary or chart that simply repeats the law's language provides no insight. These products make you aware that certain states have legislated on certain topics, but they don't significantly enhance your ability to comply with the law. That's because compliance requires understanding.
3. Insight requires local advice. Even the attorney-authors of some of these products will tell you, their products aren't meant as legal advice. The people who can best explain a state's data breach law are that state's legal practitioners. Local attorneys will be familiar with trends, customs, and precedents that affect how each state interprets its laws. Don't confuse a static online chart with legal advice.
This post is informational and should not be considered legal advice.