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Protecting Your Identity

It is of no surprise that as technology continues to advance, so does the ability for hackers to steal valuable consumer information. Florida lawmakers, recognizing this prevalent issue, passed the Florida Information Protection Act of 2014, Senate Bill 1524. This bill was recently signed by Governor Rick Scott and became effective July 1, 2014.

The purpose of the Act is to protect Florida consumers from identify theft. The Act does so by imposing strict requirements on Florida businesses. Specifically, the Act requires businesses to take reasonable measures to protect and secure personal information data. Further, the Act requires that upon determination of a data breach, businesses must report the breach to the Florida Department of Legal Affairs and give notice to the individual within 30 days. Although the Act carves out specific exceptions to the general requirements, there are harsh penalties for violators.

A violation of the act is considered a violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act ("FDUTPA"). Upon the finding of a violation, an individual may be entitled to $1000 per day the breach goes undisclosed up to 30 days, $50,000 per 30-day period thereafter the breach goes undisclosed up to 180 days; and if notice is not made within 180 days, an amount not to exceed $500,000. These steep penalties are imposed with the hopes that businesses will take these issues seriously and protect valuable consumer information.