Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations (OCABR) made the decision to delay the effective date of the Massachusetts Data Protection Law (also known as MGL 93H or 201 CMR 17.00) for the fourth time.  Businesses are expected to be in compliance with this law, which is designed to protect Massachusetts residents from identity theft, by March 1, 2010.

The original effective date of this law was January 1, 2009.  It was delayed until May 1, 2009 late last year, and in February it was moved back to January 1, 2010.

The provisions and standards of data protection have also been amended.  While the law is still perhaps the most aggressive in the country, compliance is much more attainable with the revised provisions.  The amended law can be read in PDF format here.

This announcement can be interpreted many ways.  A pessimist may look at it in a way that the effective date may never come and that Massachusetts is writing this law for a public relations purpose.  Optimists may view the four separate delays and significant amendments to the regulation as a gesture by the state saying that they are listening and they understand the needs and limitations of small businesses.  It could possibly be indicative that the state and the OCABR are serious about enforcing compliance, so they are making changes so that compliance is actually a possibility for businesses.

This news will be covered in more depth on the GraVoc News Blog towards the end of next week.

GraVoc Associates, Inc., based in Peabody, MA, is celebrating fifteen years in Greater Boston.  GraVoc works with a variety of different clients in several sectors, providing services in the practices of information security, technology and professional services, and information systems.  GraVoc’s information security team has several years’ experience serving the highly-regulated financial services industry, and is committed to helping clients from any industry comply with the Massachusetts Data Protection Law.  For more information about GraVoc and its M.G.L. 93H compliance services, please visit GraVoc.com.