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United States:

California Broadens Security And Breach Laws, Includes Genetic Data

19 October 2021

Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton



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California recently updated both its data security and breach
notice laws to include genetic data. With the passage of AB 825, the data security law
now includes in the definition of "personal information"
genetic data. The information needs to be "reasonably
protected." While many other states have similar
"reasonable protection" requirements in their data
security laws, California is one of a handful to specifically list
genetic information.

Genetic is now "personal information" subject to data
breach notification requirements. This includes the breach
notification law that applies to state agencies as well as
companies. Genetic data is any data that results from an analysis
of a biological sample or an equivalent element from a consumer
that concerns genetic material. This includes DNA, RNA, genes,
chromosomes, alleles, genomes, alterations or modifications to DNA
or RNA, and SNPs.

Both modifications go into effect January 1, 2022.

Putting it Into Practice: Companies will want to review
their incident response policies and data security programs prior
to the effective date to ensure genetic data is addressed. The
inclusion of genetic data into both of these laws shows the
increasing regulation of health and medical data outside of HIPAA.
(In addition to these amendments, California concluded its 2021
legislative calendar passing a law aimed at direct-to-consumer
testing companies collecting genetic data (which we discussed here)).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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