Privacy Law

New Practice Area: Data Security

An epidemic of computer laptop thefts has helped launch a new area of legal practice: data security.

Between 600,000 and 1.5 million laptops are stolen annually, and an increasing number of lawsuits are being filed over the loss of large amounts of sensitive data that often results. Meanwhile, as new data-security laws are enacted and opinions change about what businesses and employees should be expected to do to safeguard confidential information, companies are well-advised to consult lawyers for advice even before thefts take place, reports the Denver Business Journal.

“It’s an emerging area of law,” says William Taylor, an attorney at Denver’s Holland & Hart who was Major Crimes Section chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado until last year.

“The courts have not had a great number of opportunities to address the issue. A rule of reason is emerging that companies have to take reasonable steps to protect this data,” Taylor says. “The question is, what’s reasonable?”

Potential lawsuits aren’t all that clients should be worrying about, says New York City-based Proskauer Rose in a Web page that discusses the firm’s Privacy and Data Security Practice Group. “The risks of non-compliance transcend the law, and threaten serious public relations and business problems for those who do not handle personal information carefully.”

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