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.