On August 5, 2010, U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV) introduced legislation to require businesses and nonprofit organizations that store consumers’ personal information to put in place strong security features to safeguard sensitive data, alert consumers when this data has been breached, and provide affected individuals with the tools they need to protect their credit and finances, including credit monitoring services.
More specifically, the "Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2010" would require entities that own or possess data containing personal information to establish reasonable security policies and procedures to protect that data. If a security breach occurs, entities would have to notify each individual whose information was acquired or accessed as a result of the breach within 60 days. Affected consumers would be entitled to receive consumer credit reports or credit monitoring services for two years, as well as instructions on how to request these services.
In support of the new law, the press release issued by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation notes that data security breaches and identity theft are a growing problem in the United States. In 2009, the business industry experienced the greatest number of data breaches (41.8%), followed by government/military (18.1%) and education sectors (15.7%).
Of course, passage of this measure is possible, but, given the number of prior efforts to pass a national data breach notification law, passage seems unlikely. This outcome is made more likely by the inclusion of the credit monitoring mandate, the cost of which could be considerable to businesses affected by a data breach. Businesses should stay tuned . . .