Data Privacy Laws – Is Your Business Compliant?

by Business Security Systems Published on: 23 September 2021 Last Updated on: 24 September 2021

Data Privacy Laws

A lot has changed in the way that our data is handled. In the US, at the peak of computer technology, congress and others shared their concerns on the misuse of personal data. With that being said, the US Privacy Act of 1974 was passed. This act contained important rights and restrictions on data that were held by US government agencies.

Fast forward and there are now more data privacy laws and acts in place to help protect the way our data is collected, stored, and distributed.

As a business, it’s important to be aware of the laws in place so that your business can acquire data and store or share it legally in accordance with the law.

Types Of Data Privacy Law In The USA

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There are a number of laws and acts in place that depending on the type of business you have, may or may not be applicable to you. Security of data matters and now more than ever, especially online.

In the first six months of 2019 alone, 4.1 billion data records were compromised. So with that in mind, it’s crucial for your business to look after your customer’s data.

US Privacy Act Of 1974

This one passed by Congress gave US citizens the right to access any data held by government agencies. They also had the right to copy it and correct any errors. The same government agencies would be responsible for limiting the data they collect to that which is most relevant and necessary to capture.

There are certain restrictions in place with this act which include sharing information between federal and non-federal agencies. Access to data is also restricted on a need-to-know basis.


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was landmark legislation that helped regulate health insurance. Passed in 1996, it’s a complex law that includes both security and privacy sections.

This type of data privacy law is relevant to any health organizations and bodies that are collecting your data. For example, if you allow spouses or family members to review or see your health information, then HIPAA is the privacy rule that’s being used in this situation.

The privacy rule allows a healthcare provider permission to use the patient data if it’s needed to help with treatment, healthcare operations, and payment. It means that the organization or individual using this data won’t be able to use the data for marketing purposes or selling it on.


Back in 2000, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act took its first steps into protecting and regulating personal information collected from minors. As the internet is a relatively unpoliced domain, the act prohibits online companies from asking for personal information from those 12 years and under unless there’s parental consent that’s verifiable.

This act has somewhat been expanded upon over the last few years on the types of personal information that are protected. This included email addresses, audio files, and photographs to name but a few.


Another legislation introduced in the late 1990s was the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). This relates to banking and financial law. Its protection of personal information is an improved version of a previous consumer financial data law called FCRA.

This law protects nonpublic personal information that’s collected about the individual in connection to a financial product or service. For example, this could be mortgage information or property records.

US State Privacy Laws

There are also a few new US state laws that have come into place relating to data privacy. One example is the California consumer data privacy which provides further protection on what data can be stored and the right to opt-out.

The New York privacy act is similar to that of California and some of the other states. However, it has its own private right of action for any violation of the law.

Depending on where you’re located, it’s worth checking with regulatory bodies over what data privacy acts are in place for the state your business operates in.

How To Make Your Business Compliant With Data Privacy Laws

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With a better understanding of data privacy laws, it’s important to make your business compliant or to improve upon your compliance if it’s outdated. Failure to comply and will likely result in your business facing fines, lawsuits, and even prohibition of your site’s users.

It seems that businesses across the US are taking compliance more seriously with 46% of organizations in the U.S. naming compliance beyond the GDPR, as their highest priority. It can be daunting to navigate these data privacy laws but it’s better than doing nothing and risking the above consequences.

Luckily, we’ve put together some tips that you can act in order to make your business more compliant. 

1. Identify What Data Privacy Laws Related To Your Business

Firstly, you want to identify what data privacy laws are relatable to your business because not all of them will be necessary, especially ones related to specific states.

It’s therefore worthwhile to hire a trusted counsel who’ll be able to guide you through the relevant laws and advise on what’s applicable. This could be someone you have in-house or that you can have on retainer for when they’re needed.

The amount of counsel you have or how regularly you’ll use it will likely depend on what funds you have available. For smaller businesses, you may only need a minimal amount.

For bigger corporations, regular meetings with a legal team might be more appropriate and a worthwhile precaution to keep the business in line when it comes to compliance.

2. Stay Informed On Any Changes

Keeping up with any changes to the law, in general, can be difficult, and with many other business-related tasks to see to, it can be easy to fall behind.

However, it pays to be attentive to data privacy laws that matter to your business. Whilst you may have trusted counsel to keep an eye on the changes for you, it’s worthwhile setting up any alerts to flag a change that needs your attention.

Setting up an alert can be handy for those businesses that already have a lot on their plate but don’t quite have the financial capability to have counsel on retainers. As a business, it’s your responsibility to keep track of the laws that matter to your business.

It may also be handy to get involved with local and state associations. This can provide you with a regular source of information when it comes to any related data privacy law changes and updates.

3. Find Ways To Automate The Process

Automation is an effective way of helping save time and resources within the business. In fact, 62% of organizations use AI to support IT operations and 54% use it to improve business process efficiency.

There are plenty of automation tools that can help you regularly update your software in accordance with these laws. Platforms like Quickbooks and TurboTax are useful for accounting and tax laws as an example.

Thanks to the advancements of technology, we have access to digital tools that can help out when it comes to business compliance.

4. Use Regulatory Change Management Process

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A regulatory change management process helps to implement and enforce the necessary compliance within your business. A program like this can help implement all the changes needed. By using an RCM process in your approach to business compliance, it’s making use of the technology we have available in order to make the whole process easier.

RegTech consists of a group of companies that are helping others become more compliant with business, so it may prove useful to look into this.

5. Keep Yourself Organized And Document Everything

Being compliant in business does require a lot of organization and when you’re running a successful business, you’ll have likely needed to improve on your organization skills.

It’s worthwhile to document everything in order to ensure you’ve got evidence of your efforts in compliance. If you should ever need to prove your business compliance, then documenting everything is going to help cover your back.

Find a method of documenting your efforts whether that’s hiring an administrator to do it or through your trusted counsel. It can be useful to document it from your end, even if you’ve got counsel doing it for you.

It’s difficult for any business to maintain compliance 100% of the time, all the time. However, if you’re seen to be working hard at maintaining it or making relevant changes, you’re less likely to get stung. Doing something is better than doing nothing when it comes to business compliance.

Is Your Business Compliant?

Can you say that your business is compliant as of 2021? It pays to invest in compliance. Non-compliance costs businesses on average around $4,005,116 in revenue losses. It also impacts a lot more than from a legal perspective. Your reputation and band could be at risk of damage for not being compliant.

Commit to making your business more compliant in 2021 and you’ll likely have fewer issues further down the line.

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Freelance writer for many clients across multiple industries. Natalie has two years of copywriting experience. Natalie has a wide range of experience copywriting for web pages for businesses across many industries. She’s also an owner of two blog websites and a YouTube content creator.

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