Attorney General James' Statement On Shield Act

Attorney General James’ Statement on SHIELD Act Being Signed into Law

Law Strengthens Data Security and Consumer Privacy Protections; Ensures Consumers Receive Notice in the Event of a Data Breach  

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James today applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo for taking action and signing the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (SHIELD) Act — a legislative priority of the Office of the Attorney General during the 2019 session — into law. This consumer privacy policy updates New York’s laws governing notification requirements, consumer data protection obligations, and broadens the Attorney General’s oversight regarding data breaches impacting New Yorkers.

“The SHIELD Act is now the law of the land and provides better protections for consumers’ private information,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “New Yorkers deserve the peace of mind that companies will be held accountable for securing their information. We thank Governor Cuomo and the bill’s co-sponsors, Senator Thomas and Assembly Member DenDekker, for their advocacy and support for this important piece of legislation.” 

“As technology seeps into practically every aspect of our daily lives, it is increasingly critical that we do everything we can to ensure the information that companies are trusted with is secure,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.“The stark reality is security breaches are becoming more frequent and with this legislation New York is taking steps to increase protections for consumers and holding these companies accountable when they mishandle sensitive data.”

The SHIELD Act was an Office of the Attorney General program bill, which was sponsored in the legislature by Senator Kevin Thomas and Assembly Member Michael DenDekker. The legislation also had the support of several business and consumer organizations.

“By incorporating into state law recognized federal and state cyber security standards and breach notification procedures, and crafting sound cyber security protocols, New York Attorney General James has established cyber and breach criteria for all New York businesses,” Ken Pokalsky, vice president for The Business Council of New York State Inc. said. “The SHIELD Act is the result of over two years of work between The Business Council and the Attorney General’s Office. This common sense approach to ever increasing cyber threats in today’s technology-driven world shows that business and government can, and should, work together to find solutions that protect both businesses and the consumer.”

“The Equifax data breach of 2017 compromised the sensitive information of over eight million New Yorkers and revealed the urgent need for reforms,” added Justin Brookman, director of Consumer Privacy and Technology Policy at Consumer Reports. “The SHIELD Act patches significant weaknesses in New York State’s existing data protection laws, and we're pleased that Governor Cuomo has signed it into law. This is great news for consumers, and we commend Governor Cuomo, Attorney General James, and co-sponsors Senator Thomas and Assembly Member DenDekker for their leadership in helping to ensure the security of consumers' data.”

“AARP New York applauds Attorney General Letitia James for championing the SHIELD Act to protect our personal information from would-be thieves who could literally ruin our lives,” said Beth Finkel, New York state director of AARP. “The massive data breaches that have impacted more than half of all adult New Yorkers serve as a reminder that any of us could become a victim of identity theft at any time.”

“Signing the Shield Act is a step in the right direction for New York, and will ensure better protection for residents and tech firms alike,” Julie Samuels, executive director of Tech:NYC said. “Data security is extremely important in the 21st century, which is why New York must be a leader in preventing cyber attacks and protecting information. This law will help do that, and the process that got us here shows what happens when government, advocates, and the private sector come together. We thank all the leaders who played a role in passing the bill, and applaud Governor Cuomo for signing it today.”