Texas Legislature Passes Bill Calling for State AG to Establish Data Breach ‘Wall of Shame’

The Texas Legislature has followed in the footsteps of California and Maine and has passed a bill that requires the Texas Attorney General to publish notices of breaches of personal data that affect state residents on the state Attorney General’s public-facing website.

House Bill 3746, which was unanimously passed, amends the Texas Business and Commerce Code § 521.053 and calls for the Texas Attorney General to publish notifications of data breaches that have affected 250 or more Texas residents and to update the website to include the notification within 30 days of the notification being received.

Once a company has been listed on the website, the listing must remain in place for 12 months. The listing will be removed provided the individual or company has not suffered any further data breaches affecting 250 or more Texas residents during that 12-month period.

Texas law requires notifications of breaches of system security to be sent to the state Attorney General within 60 days of the breach being discovered. The breach notices must include a detailed description of the nature of the breach, how it occurred, and if any sensitive information was acquired as a result of the breach. The notices must include the number of individuals known to be affected by the breach at the time of issuing the notification to the State Attorney General. Notifications also need to include details of the measures taken regarding the breach, future measures that plan to be taken in relation to be breach, and whether law enforcement is engaged to investigate the breach.

The bill updates existing data breach notification requirements to also require the Attorney General to be notified how many Texas residents have been sent a notification by mail or other direct method of communication at the time the notification to the Texas Attorney General is issued.

The bill now awaits the signature of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. If the bill is signed, it will take effect from September 1, 2021.

Author: Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.