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Washington Data Breach Statute


Wash. Rev. Code §§ 19.255.010-.020

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Quick Facts

Breach Based on
Harm Threshold

Deadline for
Consumer Notice

Notification Required


Most expedient time possible
without unreasonable delay,
no more than 45 days

YES, if >500 residents are notified


More Details

Scope of this Summary Notification requirements applicable to persons or businesses that conduct business in the state and own, license or maintain covered info. Some types of businesses may be exempt from some or all of these requirements and non-commercial entities may be subject to different requirements.
Covered Info First name or first initial and last name, plus: Social Security number; driver's license or state identification card number; or financial account, credit card or debit card number in combination with any required security or access code or password that would permit access to a resident's financial account.
Form of Covered Info Electronic or Paper
Encryption Safe Harbor Statute does not apply to information that is encrypted or otherwise modified so that covered info is unreadable, unusable, or undecipherable, so long as encryption key was not accessed or acquired.
Breach Defined Unauthorized acquisition that compromises the security, confidentiality or integrity of the covered info, excluding certain good-faith acquisitions by employees or agents.
Consumer Notice Timing: Must be made in the most expedient time possible without unreasonable delay but no more than 45 calendar days after the breach was discovered, consistent with any measures to determine the scope of the breach and to restore the reasonable integrity of the system.

Content: Notice must be written in plain language and include: name and contact info of the covered entity; list of the types of covered info reasonably believed to have been affected by breach; and toll-free phone numbers and addresses of the major CRAs.

Method: By written notice or electronic notice if consistent with E-SIGN. Substitute notice is available if certain criteria are satisfied.
Delayed Notice Notification may be delayed if data owner or licensee contacts a law enforcement agency after
discovery of a breach and the agency determines notification will impede a criminal investigation.
Harm Threshold Notification not required if the breach is not reasonably likely to subject consumers to a risk of harm.
Government Notice If more than 500 residents must be notified, must provide notice to the Attorney General prior to consumer notice. Notice must include an electronic copy of the consumer notice and the number of residents affected by the breach.

*Wash. Admin Code 284-04-625: Licensees subject to state insurance regulations must notify state Insurance Commissioner about the number of consumers affected and measures taken in writing within two business days of determining notice must be sent to consumers under breach notification statute or 45 C.F.R. § 164.402. Additional notice requirements apply for breaches of PHI.
Third-Party Notice If you maintain covered info on behalf of another entity, you must notify them immediately following discovery of a breach.
Potential Penalties Violations may result in civil penalties.


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This summary is for informational purposes only. It provides general information and not legal advice or opinions regarding specific facts. Additional requirements or conditions may apply to any or all provisions referenced herein. For more information about the state data breach notification laws or other data security matters, please seek the advice of counsel.

Last revised on March 26, 2018