The federal government may be pushing a cybersecurity and data privacy agenda, but that doesn’t mean that the states are taking a back seat. The state attorneys general are maintaining their focus on issues relating to privacy and data security and expanding the scope of that focus to address the ever-evolving nature of those issues.

On March 11, 2015, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced the creation of the Privacy and Data Security Department in his office that will be tasked with privacy and data security investigations and litigation. The attorney general, who created a privacy task force four years ago, hopes that the creation of this specialized department will solidify Connecticut’s role as a leader in this space. The attorney general is making the shift from a task force to a permanent department because the need for such a focus has not let up in the last four years, and shows no signs of doing so.

Privacy and data security are on the minds of the attorneys general as they come out of their most recent National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) meetings and head into spring. The NAAG Southern Region Meeting, which concluded March 13, 2015, covered “Big Data – Challenges and Opportunities,” and included panels on data breach, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the proposal for a national data breach notification law.

NAAG President Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, whose presidential initiative for the 2014-15 year is “Protecting Our Digital Lives: New Challenges for Attorneys General,” will host the presidential initiative summit in mid-April in Biloxi, Mississippi. On the summit agenda: intellectual property theft, cloud computing, and digital currency.

In addition, state attorneys general are seeking to revise and expand upon existing data breach and privacy legislation. We have previously discussed the changes being considered in New York and Oregon. The Washington Attorney General is also pushing for changes to that state’s data breach notification law. Regulated entities can expect to continue to see a lot of action from the states on these issues.