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Hope for Breach and Security Legislation

Lawmakers have been working for five years — through three Congresses — to craft legislation that would help safeguard consumers’ personal data online and require that they be notified when there are breaches so they can take further steps to protect themselves.

And now, the legislative finish line is in sight.

The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance hears testimony today at 2:30 p.m. on S.3742, the “Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2010,” a very strong and worthy bill introduced by Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.V.). The House of Representatives passed a companion bill in December 2009 ( H.R.2221), sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).

By protecting consumers, the legislation will help build trust in the online marketplace. It will also help businesses, which are currently faced with a patchwork of breach-notification laws in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. A national framework will create a uniform set of standards and requirements, thereby easing compliance burdens while also expanding protections for consumers.

I commend Senator Pryor and Chairman Rockefeller for advancing their bill. Congress has never been so close to sending breach-notification legislation to the president. I urge the Senate to complete its work now, while the window of opportunity is still open in the 111th Congress.

Robert Holleyman


As President and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance from 1990 until April 2013, Robert Holleyman long served as the chief advocate for the global software industry. Before leaving BSA to start his own venture, Cloud4Growth, Holleyman led the most successful anti-piracy program in the history of any industry, driving down software piracy rates in markets around the world.

Named one of the 50 most influential people in the intellectual property world, he was instrumental in putting into place the global policy framework that today protects software under copyright law. A widely respected champion for open markets, Holleyman also was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, the principal advisory committee for the US government on trade matters.

Holleyman was a leader in industry efforts to establish the legal framework necessary for cloud-computing technologies to flourish. He was an early proponent for policies that promote deployment of security technologies to build public trust and confidence in cyberspace. And he created a highly regarded series of forums for industry executives and policymakers to exchange points of view and forge agreements on the best ways to spur technology advances and promote economic growth.

Before heading BSA, Holleyman was a counselor and legislative adviser in the United States Senate, an attorney in private practice, and a judicial clerk in US District Court. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, a J.D. from Louisiana State University, and has completed the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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