The breach goes on: Bono Mack unveils SAFE Data Act

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.), widow of the late Congressman Sony Bono, released a draft of legislation to establish national notification standards for companies that suffer data breaches.

From her perch as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, Bono Mack unveiled a discussion draft of the Secure and Fortify Data Act (SAFE Data Act).

“With nearly 1.5 billion credit cards now in use in the United States -- and more and more Americans banking and shopping online -- sophisticated hackers and cyber thieves have a treasure chest of opportunities to ‘get rich quick’. The SAFE Data Act will provide American consumers with better safeguards in the future,” she said in a press release.

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The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade is scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation at 10 a.m. Wednesday in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building.

Scheduled to testify are:

--Edith Ramirez, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission;

--Jason Goldman, Telecommunications and e-Commerce Counsel, U.S. Chamber of Commerce;

--Robert Holleyman, President and CEO, Business Software Alliance; Stuart Pratt, President and CEO, Consumer Data Industry Association;and

--Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director, Electronic Privacy Information Center.

More from the press release:

A key feature of the SAFE Data Act requires notification to the FTC and consumers within 48 hours of the time that a breach has been secured and scope of the breach assessed. The FTC would also be given the authority to levy civil penalties if companies or entities fail to respond in a timely and responsible manner. Non-profit organizations such as universities and charities would be required to comply with the legislation.

Additionally, the SAFE Data Act grants the FTC the ability to expand the definition of “personally identifiable information” so long as this new data poses a reasonable risk of identity theft or would otherwise “result in unlawful conduct.”

--Bill Brenner

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