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Vermont

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[For specific rules applicable to data brokers – click here.]

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Information Covered / Important Definitions

Information covered:

Personal information of Vermont residents. 

Definition also includes:

  • financial account number or credit or debit card number, if circumstances exist in which the number could be used without additional identifying information, access codes, or passwords;
  • account passwords or personal identification numbers or other access codes for a financial account.

Important definitions:

"Data Collector" may include the State, State agencies, political subdivisions of the State, public and private universities, privately and publicly held corporations, limited liability companies, financial institutions, retail operators, and any other entity that, for any purpose, whether by automated collection or otherwise, handles, collects, disseminates, or otherwise deals with nonpublic personal information.

Security Breach” means unauthorized acquisition of electronic data or a reasonable belief of an unauthorized acquisition of electronic data that compromises the security, confidentiality or integrity of a consumer’s personally identifiable information maintained by a Data Collector.

Encryption” means use of an algorithmic process to transform data into a form in which the data is rendered unreadable or unusable without use of a confidential process or key.

Redaction” means the rendering of data so that it is unreadable or is truncated so that no more than the last four digits of the identification number are accessible as part of the data.

Specific to Data Brokers (2018 Data Broker Regulation):

Information Covered:

"Brokered personal information": one or more of the following computerized data elements about a consumer, if categorized or organized for dissemination to third parties:

(i) name;

(ii) address;

(iii) date of birth;

(iv) place of birth;

(v) mother's maiden name;

(vi) unique biometric data generated from measurements or technical analysis of human body characteristics used by the owner or licensee of the data to identify or authenticate the consumer, such as a fingerprint, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation or digital representation of biometric data;

(vii) name or address of a member of the consumer's immediate family or household;

(viii) Social Security number or other government-issued identification number; or

(ix) other information that, alone or in combination with the other information sold or licensed, would allow a reasonable person to identify the consumer with reasonable certainty.

Important Definitions:

"Data Broker" means a business, or unit or units of a business, separately or together, that knowingly collects and sells or licenses to third parties the brokered personal information of a consumer with whom the business does not have a direct relationship. (note: the statute contains several exemptions)

"Data Broker Security Breach" means an unauthorized acquisition or a reasonable belief of an unauthorized acquisition of more than one element of brokered personal information maintained by a data broker when the brokered personal information is not encrypted, redacted, or protected by another method that renders the information unreadable or unusable by an unauthorized person.

Covered Entities* / Third Party Recipients

Subject to statute:

Any Data Collector that owns or licenses computerized personally identifiable information that includes personal information concerning a consumer.

Third party recipients:

Any Data Collector that maintains or possesses computerized data containing personally identifiable information of a consumer that the Data Collector does not own or license or any Data Collector that acts or conducts business in Vermont that maintains or possesses records or data containing personally identifiable information that the Data Collector does not own or license shall notify the owner or licensee of the information of any security breach immediately following discovery of the breach, consistent with the legitimate needs of law enforcement

Note:  The statute imposes various obligations on Data Brokers, including, registration, breach record-keeping, and data security requirements. Further specific information is contained in the statute.

Notice Procedures & Timing / Other Obligations

Written, telephonic or electronic notice must be provided to victims of a security breach following a prompt investigation within the most expedient time possible and without unreasonable delay, but not later than forty-five (45) days after discovery of the breach or notification from a third party, unless a delay is requested by a law enforcement agency concerned that disclosure will impede a law enforcement investigation or a national or homeland security investigation or jeopardize public safety or national  or homeland security interests (in which case notification is delayed until authorized by the law enforcement agency).

  • Electronic notice only permitted under certain conditions.
  • Substitute notice is available by means prescribed in the statute if costs to exceed $5,000, affected class exceeds 5,000 persons, or covered entity has insufficient contact information.
  • Notice not required if covered entity establishes that misuse of personal information is not reasonably possible and covered entity provides notice of such determination to the Attorney General or the Department of Financial Regulation, as applicable.

Notice Requirements:

The notice to a consumer shall be clear and conspicuous. The notice shall include a description of each of the following, if known to the Data Collector:

(A) the incident in general terms;

(B) the type of personally identifiable information that was subject to the security breach

(C) the general acts of the Data Collector to protect the personally identifiable information from further security breach;

(D) a telephone number, toll-free if available, that the consumer may call for further information and assistance; 

(E) advice that directs the consumer to remain vigilant by reviewing account statements and monitoring free credit reports; and 

(F) the approximate date of the security breach.

Other obligations:

Any covered entity that must notify more than 1,000 persons at one time of a security breach is also required to notify without unreasonable delay consumer reporting agencies.

Note:  VT also imposes data destruction requirements pursuant to Vermont’s Data Destruction Act, and regulates collection, use and release of Social Security Numbers pursuant to the Social Security Number Protection Act.  The applicable statutes contain specific obligations.

Encryption Safe Harbor / Other Exemptions

Encryption Safe Harbor: Statute not applicable if the personal data that was lost, stolen or accessed by an unauthorized individual is encrypted, redacted or protected by another method that renders the data unreadable or unusable.

Other exemptions:

"Security breach" does not include good faith but unauthorized acquisition of personally identifiable information by an employee or agent of the Data Collector for a legitimate purpose of the Data Collector, provided that the personally identifiable information is not used for a purpose unrelated to the Data collector's business or subject to further unauthorized disclosure. Financial institutions subject to certain federal interagency guidance regarding consumer information are exempt.

Notification to Regulator / Waiver

Attorney General must be notified within fourteen (14) business days of discovery of security breach or notification to consumers, whichever is sooner. 

Notice must contain a preliminary description of the breach, the date of the breach, the date of discovery, the number of Vermont consumers affected, and a copy of any notice already provided to consumers.

The Data Collector may send to the Attorney General or the Department, as applicable, a second copy of the consumer notice, from which is redacted the type of personally identifiable information that was subject to the breach, and which the Attorney General or the Department shall use for any public disclosure of the breach.

For Vermont-regulated financial institution: Notice must be made to Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation in the same manner as the Attorney General notice.

A Data Collector who, prior to the date of the breach, on a form and in a manner prescribed by the Attorney General, had sworn in writing to the Attorney General that it maintains written policies and procedures to maintain the security of personally identifiable information and respond to a breach in a manner consistent with Vermont law shall notify the Attorney General of the date of the security breach and the date of discovery of the breach and shall provide a description of the breach prior to providing notice of the breach to consumers

A determination of no likelihood of harm:

Requires notification and detailed explanation to Attorney General. 

If facts arise later indicating misuse is reasonably possible, the covered entity must notify affected residents.

waiver of the statute is void and unenforceable.

Note:  Data Broker Security Breaches do not require Attorney General or Consumer notice unless personal information is involved.  However, the statute includes specific record-keeping and reporting requirements.

Private Cause of Action / Enforcement

Private Cause of Action: Yes* 

*a private cause of action may be available to consumers under VT’s Consumer Protection Act

Enforcement by Attorney General and State’s Attorney only.

Enforcement by Department of Financial Regulation for regulated financial institutions.

 

Note: Please refer to individual state statutes for a complete list of covered entities as the list of legal and commercial entities described in this chart as “subject to statute” in most cases is not exhaustive.  Please also note that rules applicable to state agencies, government bodies and other public institutions are not discussed in this chart.

Click here to review text of state statute

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Click here to download a print-version of the Mintz Matrix

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