The security laws, regulations and guidelines directory

Need to find and understand security and privacy laws, regulations and guidelines? Here's a handy compendium with summaries plus links to the full text of each law.

This directory includes laws, regulations and industry guidelines with significant security and privacy impact and requirements. Each entry includes a link to the full text of the law or reg as well as information about what and who is covered.

The list is intentionally US-centric, but includes selected laws of other nations that have an impact on US-based global companies.

The security regulations and guidelines directory will be updated and expanded over time on Please email editor Derek Slater ( with suggestions or updates.

Click on a link to skip to a subsection of the directory:

  • Broadly applicable laws and regulations Includes: Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX); Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS); Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) Act; Electronic Fund Transfer Act, Regulation E (EFTA); Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT); Free and Secure Trade Program (FAST); Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA); Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), including Red Flags Rule; Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)
  • Industry-specific guidelines and requirements Includes: Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA); North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) standards; Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR Part 11) Electronic Records; Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH); Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (PSQIA, Patient Safety Rule); H.R. 2868: The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Regulation
  • Key state laws Includes: Massachusetts 201 CMR 17 (aka Mass Data Protection Law); Nevada Personal Information Data Privacy Encryption Law NRS 603A
  • International laws Includes: Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPED Act, or PIPEDA)—Canada; Law on the Protection of Personal Data Held by Private Parties—Mexico; European Union Data Protection Directive; Safe Harbor Act

Section one: Broadly applicable laws and regulations

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (aka Sarbox, SOX)

What Sarbanes-Oxley covers: Enacted in 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is designed to protect investors and the public by increasing the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures. It was enacted after the high-profile Enron and WorldCom financial scandals of the early 2000s. It is administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which publishes SOX rules and requirements defining audit requirements and the records businesses should store and for how long.

More about Sarbanes-Oxley

Who is affected: U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms.

Full text of Sarbanes-Oxley Act:

Key requirements/provisions: The Act is organized into 11 titles:

  1. Public Company Accounting Oversight
  2. Auditor Independence
  3. Corporate Responsibility
  4. Enhanced Financial Disclosures
  5. Analyst Conflicts of Interest
  6. Commission Resources and Authority
  7. Studies and Reports
  8. Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability
  9. White-Collar Crime Penalty Enhancements
  10. Corporate Tax Returns
  11. Corporate Fraud Accountability


Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

What it covers: The PCI DSS is a set of requirements for enhancing security of payment customer account data. It was developed by the founders of the PCI Security Standards Council, including American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa to help facilitate global adoption of consistent data security measures. PCI DSS includes requirements for security management, policies, procedures, network architecture, software design and other critical protective measures.

More about PCI DSS

The Council has also issued requirements called the Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA DSS) and PCI Pin Transaction Security (PCI PTS).

Who is affected: Retailers, credit card companies, anyone handling credit card data.

Link to the PCI DSS requirements:

The current version is PCI DSS v2.0, issued 10/28/2010.

You will also find full text of the latest PA DSS and PCI PTS requirements on that page.

Support documents (including a summary of the significant differences between PCI DSS v1.2 and PCI DSS v2.0):

Key requirements/provisions: Currently, PCI DSS specifies 12 requirements, organized in six basic objectives:

Objective 1: Build and Maintain a Secure Retail Point of Sale SystemRequirement 1: Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder dataRequirement 2: Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters Objective 2: Protect Cardholder DataRequirement 3: Protect stored cardholder dataRequirement 4: Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks Objective 3: Maintain a Vulnerability Management ProgramRequirement 5: Use and regularly update anti-virus softwareRequirement 6: Develop and maintain secure systems and applications Objective 4: Implement Strong Access Control MeasuresRequirement 7: Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-knowRequirement 8: Assign a unique ID to each person with computer accessRequirement 9: Restrict physical access to cardholder data Objective 5: Regularly Monitor and Test NetworksRequirement 10: Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder dataRequirement 11: Regularly test security systems and processes Objective 6: Maintain an Information Security PolicyRequirement 12: Maintain a policy that addresses information security

Source: PCI Security Standards Council

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB) Act of 1999

What it covers: Also known as the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, the GLB Act includes provisions to protect consumers' personal financial information held by financial institutions. There are three principal parts to the privacy requirements: the Financial Privacy Rule, the Safeguards Rule and pretexting provisions.

Who is affected: Financial institutions (banks, securities firms, insurance companies), as well as companies providing financial products and services to consumers (including lending, brokering or servicing any type of consumer loan; transferring or safeguarding money; preparing individual tax returns; providing financial advice or credit counseling; providing residential real estate settlement services; collecting consumer debts).

Link to the law: The Privacy of Consumer Financial Information rule within GLB:

Laws and rules pertaining to GLB:

Key requirements/provisions: The privacy requirements of GLB include three principal parts:

The Financial Privacy Rule: Requires financial institutions to give customers privacy notices that explain its information collection and sharing practices. In turn, customers have the right to limit some sharing of their information. Financial institutions and other companies that receive personal financial information from a financial institution may be limited in their ability to use that information.

The Safeguards Rule: Requires all financial institutions to design, implement and maintain safeguards to protect the confidentiality and integrity of personal consumer information.

Pretexting provisions: Protect consumers from individuals and companies that obtain their personal financial information under false pretenses, including fraudulent statements and impersonation.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

Electronic Fund Transfer Act, Regulation E

What it covers: Enacted in 1978, this law protects consumers engaging in electronic fund transfers from errors and fraud. It carries out the purposes of the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, which establishes the basic rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of EFT consumers of financial institutions that offer these services. EFTs include ATM transfers, telephone bill-payment services, point-of-sale terminal transfers in stores and preauthorized transfers from or to a consumer's account (such as direct deposit and Social Security payments). Effective August 2010, a new provision states that institutions may not impose dormancy, inactivity or service fees for pre-paid products, such as gift cards, nor can they have an expiration date of less than five years.

Who is affected: Financial institutions that hold consumer accounts or provide EFT services, as well as merchants and other payees.

Link to the law:

With 2010 updates:

Key requirements/provisions: Regulation E includes the following provisions:

  • Definition of access device (debit cards, PINs, phone transfers, bill payment codes, private label cards).
  • Consumer acceptance of device (either through a request for the device or validation of an unsolicited device).
  • Financial institution responsibilities, such as disclosure requirements and records retention.
  • Consumer rights and responsibilities, such as procedures for reporting lost or stolen access devices and notifying the institution of an error.
  • Rules for preauthorized debits and electronic check transactions.
  • Error resolution process.
  • Unauthorized EFTs.

Source:, Alston & Byrd LLP

Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)

What it covers: C-TPAT is a worldwide supply chain security initiative established in 2004. It is a voluntary initiative run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, with the goals of preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the U.S. It is designed to build cooperative government-business relationships that strengthen and improve the overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. Businesses are asked to ensure the integrity of their security practices and communicate and verify the security guidelines of their business partners within the supply chain.

More about C-TPAT and supply chain security

Benefits for participating in C-TPAT include a reduced number of CBP inspections, priority processing for CBP inspections, assignment of a C-TPAT supply chain security specialist to validate security throughout the company's supply chain and more.

Who is affected: Trade-related businesses, such as importers, carriers, consolidators, logistics providers, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers.

Link to overview of C-TPAT:

Security criteria for various players:

Key requirements/provisions: C-TPAT relies on a multi-layered approach consisting of the following five goals:

  1. Ensure that C-TPAT partners improve the security of their supply chains pursuant to C-TPAT security criteria.
  2. Provide incentives and benefits to include expedited processing of C-TPAT shipments to C-TPAT partners.
  3. Internationalize the core principals of C-TPAT.
  4. Support other CBP initiatives, such as Free and Secure Trade, Secure Freight Initiative, Container Security Initiative.
  5. Improve administration of the C-TPAT program.

C-TPAT security criteria encompass the following areas:

  • Business partners
  • Conveyance security
  • Physical access control
  • Personnel security
  • Procedural security
  • Physical security
  • Security training/Threat awareness
  • Information technology security

Source: U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

Free and Secure Trade Program (FAST)

What it covers: FAST is a voluntary commercial clearance program run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for pre-approved, low-risk goods entering the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. Initiated after 9/11, the program allows for expedited processing for commercial carriers who have completed background checks and fulfill certain eligibility requirements. Participation in FAST requires that every link in the supply chain -- from manufacturer to carrier to driver to importer -- is certified under the C-TPAT program (see above). Cards cost $50 and are valid for 5 years.

Benefits of using FAST and C-TPAT include:

  • Upon terrorist alerts, FAST/C-TPAT drivers will be allowed to cross the border.
  • Dedicated lanes for greater speed and efficiency
  • Reduced cost of compliance with customs requirements.

Who is affected: Importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers.

Link to FAST program details:

Key requirements/provisions: Highway carriers authorized to use the FAST/C-TPAT program need to meet the following requirements:

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