As was widely reported last month, SolarWinds, an Austin-based IT Management firm with numerous and significant customers had been the victim of a highly sophisticated cyberattack. The cybercriminals inserted malicious code in the SolarWinds Orion suite of products, and when normal software updates occurred, the malicious code was transmitted. The New York Times reported the SolarWinds breach may have affected 250 federal agencies and businesses.
The Biden Administration has taken significant action in its first week, signaling that cybersecurity will be a priority. Biden is poised to tap a number of well-regarded cybersecurity experts to important positions across various agencies and the National Security Council, including a new National Cyber Director who will coordinate cybersecurity capabilities across all federal agencies.
Additionally, with Democrats in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, many observers anticipate that a federal privacy bill may be imminent. For several years, the push for federal legislation has been growing. Consumer privacy advocates desire more transparency and control over how individuals’ data is collected, stored, used, and transferred. Industry is seeking clarity and uniformity; the current patchwork of state laws and sectoral federal laws is often unwieldy.
A little closer to home, the Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council, created by the 86th Legislature, issued its report on privacy laws, with recommendations for legislative priorities in the 87th Legislature, which was sworn in this month. As of January 25, 2021, a consumer privacy bill has not been introduced.
Today is National Data Privacy Day, developed by the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA), to raise awareness about cybersecurity and urge individuals, businesses, non-profits and federal agencies to become better informed and armed when it comes to data. Langley & Banack’s Cybersecurity, Data Protection, and Privacy attorneys work closely with businesses and financial institutions to assist with planning, preparation, and breach response. We are here to help you navigate your legal obligations and business best practices under existing law and we will keep you informed about developments at the State and federal level.