A California Republican representative recently introduced legislation intended to protect consumers from identity theft in response to a spate of recent high profile data breaches involving companies such as Sony and Epsilon.
Representative Mary Bono Mack's Secure and Fortify Electronic Data Act would require companies to adopt a reasonable level of identity theft prevention measures and inform consumers within 48 hours after a compromising data breach occurs. Currently, data breach requirements vary by state, which slows companies down when trying to determine the correct post-breach course of action. The SAFE Data Act would preempt state laws to create a federal standard. "Consumers should be promptly informed when their personal information has been jeopardized," said Bono Mack, who took over her seat from her husband - Sonny Bono of the singing duo Sonny & Cher - after he died in a skiing accident while in office. "The time has come for Congress to take decisive action. We need a uniform national standard for data security and data breach notification." The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade recently approved the bill, which was criticized by Democrats for potentially weakening existing consumer protections.