Dems Reintroduce Bill to Impose Fines on Credit Agencies for Data Breaches

Democrats in Congress reintroduced legislation for imposing fines on credit reporting agencies for taking advantage of consumer data, on Tuesday.

Credit reporting agencies will be required to pay $100 for each customer whose personal information is compromised, according to the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act, which was introduced ahead of a Senate Banking Committee hearing on data privacy.

Senators Mark Warren (D-Va) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) were the ones who introduced the bill in the Senate, and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-III.) and House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md) in the House.

According to Warren’s office, if this bill was in power earlier, credit reporting companies like Equifax would have paid at least $1.5 billion in fines.

The Hill reported that the bill, which did not see action in the last Congress, would establish an Office of Cybersecurity and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to conduct regular inspections of the cyber practices at credit reporting agencies. It would also enhance the FTC’s enforcement capabilities against credit reporting agencies by giving the agency civil penalty authority under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, a law that requires financial institutions to explain how they share and protect customer data.

Former FTC Chief Technologist Ashkan Soltani said making credit agencies liable for failing to secure consumer data is “a necessary step in ensuring our privacy rights.”

The idea for legislation to regulate consumer data collection by tech companies was supported both by Republicans and Democrats on the committee.

The founder of social bookmarking website Pinboard, Maciej Ceglowski, during his testimony defended the regulation of the collection of consumer information by tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google to ensure consumer privacy and to preserve our liberty. He said:

‘’The internet economy today resembles the earliest days of the nuclear industry. We have a technology of unprecedented potential we have made glowing promises about how it will transform the daily lives of our fellow Americans, but we don’t know how to keep its dangerous byproducts safe.’’

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