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06/12/2017

Reed Smith Releases App for Multistate Assessment of Data Breach Notification Obligations

Global law firm Reed Smith LLP announced the launch of Breach RespondeRS, a free app. Nearly every state in the United States has a data security breach law, requiring notice when certain personal information is lost, stolen, or misused. But the many laws differ in small but crucial respects, making it difficult to get to a bottom line. Breach RespondeRS is the first app of its kind prompting companies – such as those in the hospitality industry – to answer basic fact questions and immediately get a response as to the likelihood that notification is required. The app’s release was accompanied by an animated video short showing how Breach RespondeRS can aid in both post-incident response as well as pre-incident assessment for identifying risks under different scenarios to help companies to prepare accordingly
 
“Potential data security breaches range from technical glitches to potential catastrophes,” said Mark Melodia, founder of Reed Smith’s Information Technology, Privacy & Data Security, and co-chair of the firm’s IP, Tech & Data Group. “But in each case, time is of the essence. Breach RespondeRS simplifies the application of the patchwork of state laws to let companies focus in on the real work of protecting data and preventing further harm.”
 
Drawing on Reed Smith’s experience helping companies through hundreds of actual and suspected data security breaches, Breach RespondeRS starts with a series of yes-no-maybe factual questions. Depending on the facts provided, Breach RespondeRS applies all relevant state laws and reports on the risk of notice being needed. The app generates and provides users a report on the requirements imposed by the applicable laws, with links to additional information and materials. These materials include a free copy of Reed Smith’s 50-state survey of data security breach laws, as well as checklists, model notifications, and other practical advice. 
 
While Breach RespondeRS is helpful for companies in any industry trying to better understand their obligations, Reed Smith plans to release subsequent versions specific to highly regulated industries. Next up, Paul Bond, co-practice leader of Reed Smith’s Information Technology, Privacy & Data Security Group, will work to develop a version of Breach RespondeRS for US financial institutions with lead coder Anthony J. Ford, a member of the firm’s Blockchain Initiative and formerly a computer scientist for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory where he studied artificial intelligence and machine learning.
 
“Breach RespondeRS is a great example of Reed Smith driving progress through innovation," said Sandy Thomas, the Global Managing Partner of Reed Smith. “We listened to our data security clients when they identified the application of these many state laws as a real headache, and used technology to create a solution. Now Reed Smith can help our clients with the many difficult judgment calls that come into play when data security breaches strike.”
 
The app was developed entirely in-house with lawyers in Reed Smith’s Information Technology, Privacy & Data Security Group collaborating with members of the firm’s Knowledge Management, IT, Practice Support and Business Development teams.