Senate Democrats propose fines for credit reporting agency hacks

Senate Dems' bill would penalize credit reporting agencies for breaches

Elizabeth Warren and Mark Warner Want Firms Like Equifax Fined $100 For Every Person Affected By Data Breaches

"In today's information economy, data is an enormous asset".

The fines would be administered by the Federal Trade Commission, and the legislation requires that at least half of any fines collected would be funneled back to citizens whose data had been lifted by hackers.

"U.S. PIRG commends Senators Warren and Warner for the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act".

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Although the FTC launched an investigation into the Equifax data breach in September, it remains to be seen whether the company will be ordered to pay fines.

Under the draft law, the FTC would create an Office of Cybersecurity that would be responsible for reviewing and inspecting credit reporting agencies. It would impose mandatory, strict liability penalties for breaches of consumer data beginning with a base penalty of $100 for each consumer who had one piece of personal identifying information (PII) compromised and another $50 for each additional PII compromised per consumer.

Not only that, but this bill would actually be putting money back into the pockets of consumers.

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Equifax would have had to pay approximately $1.5 billion in penalties under the bill.

"This bill establishes much-needed protections for data security for the credit bureaus". Public Knowledge applauds Senators Warner and Warren for prioritizing consumer privacy. "Equifax might make money off the breach", Warren said, citing the sales of credit production products. The bill faces an uphill climb in a Republican-led Congress, but if it became law, would allow the government to fine as much as 75 per cent of a credit reporting agency's gross revenue should a hack occur.

"I worry [the USA will] continue to go out and build and invest in the world's best 20th-century military, in terms of planes and tanks and ships, when many of our adversaries are not making investment in traditional military but making investments in cyber warfare tools where candidly ... we are not fully protected", Warner said. He slammed the credit bureau for its cybersecurity failures and weak response at a Banking Committee hearing with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton past year. Warner chaired the first congressional hearing on protecting consumer data from the threat posed by hackers targeting retailers' online systems. Sen. In the wake of the Equifax breach, it is clear that our data protection laws are woefully outdated and inadequate - and consumers deserve better.

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