Recently, Uber covered up a breach that it experience more than a year ago. The company paid off the hackers responsible for the breach with a $100,000 amount in exchange for their silence. This, along with many others, hasn't been sitting well with the Senate Commerce Committee.
Top Democrats in the Senate Commerce Committee are now revisiting their efforts to pass a law that would require companies to quickly notify their customers if a breach occurs. They specifically cited Uber's breach as an example.
The bill, known as the Data Security and Breach Notification Act, will seek to implement a few things. First, it will work to implement a new nationwide breach notification standard and replace the current confusing way of state laws that are currently in place. If this bill is signed into law, the bill would impose new strict penalties on anyone that tries to “intentionally and willfully” conceal a data breach. These penalties would include fines and up to five years of imprisonment, or both.
The bill is seeing sponsorship from Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, who is the ranking Democrat in the commerce committee, and both Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Baldwin, Democrats from Connecticut and Wisconsin, respectfully. Nelson in a statement said that nationwide law are an absolute necessary to protect consumer data and protect the data from being stolen by hackers. “Congress can either take action now to pass this long overdue bill or continue to kowtow to special interests who stand in the way of this commonsense proposal. When it comes to doing what’s best for consumers, the choice is clear,” he said.
The bill direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to develop new security standards to aide businesses that handle consumers' personal and financial information. In addition, the FTC is responsible for providing “incentives” to businesses for adoption of technology to make consumer data “unusable or unreadable if stolen during a breach.” Basically, the want to make the data completely useless in a case where it gets stolen.
Democrats have introduced this bill to bring new wave of protections for consumers for both their personal and financial information. Whether Republican lawmakers are behind this bill remains to be seen. Only time will tell.