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During the past four years, 38 states have enacted laws mandating consumer notifications if there is a theft of personal data from the company computers that can be used by thieves to perpetrate identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission has also brought enforcement actions against companies for not properly protecting sensitive personal data. The challenge, of course, is how to comply with 38 state laws and to avoid an FTC determination that a failure to protect personal data amounts to an unfair business practice in violation of 15 U.S.C. 45(a). This article will provide an overview of these various state laws and the FTC regulation and suggest the proactive measures a company can implement before and after a data breach to minimize its potential liability under this new regulatory scheme.

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