New Washington State Data Security Law Effective July 1, 2010; Companies Should Assess Compliance With Several New State Data Security Laws


A new Washington state law, effective on July 1, 2010,1 will give financial institutions a cause of action against certain entities involved in payment card transactions that fail to take reasonable care to guard against unauthorized access to payment card information, where that failure is found to be the proximate cause of a data security breach.

The Washington statute is the third state law to incorporate all or a portion of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the industry data security standard for the protection of credit card numbers and other payment card information.2 Minnesota’s 2007 Plastic Card Security Act adopted portions of the PCI DSS, and Nevada statutory amendments effective on January 1, 2010, required companies doing business in Nevada that accept credit card payments to comply with the PCI DSS in its entirety.

These state laws are part of a trend toward greater specificity, and more substantial burdens for businesses, in state data security laws.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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