Data Security Act of 2015 Advances in House Committee

December 10, 2015, Written By Lynn Oldshue
Protection concept: Painted blue text Data Security on Digital Paper background with  Scheme Of Hand Drawn Security Icons, 3d render

On Tuesday, the House Financial Services Committee voted in favor of the Data Security Act of 2015 (HR 2205) by an overwhelming 46-9 vote. The Act is designed to heighten information security programs throughout the country and ensure transparent reporting of consumer-threatening data breaches.

This piece of legislation enforces what some are calling “common sense data security standards for retailers. A study conducted by the Morning Consult on the same day the Act passed revealed that 92% of Americans believe stores should use the latest technology to keep their customers safe. HR 2205 will keep retailers up-to-date with their data security policies, and help inform consumers about possible compromises to their personal information.

Specifically, the Act “requires individuals, corporations, or other non-government entities that access, maintain, communicate, or handle sensitive financial account information or nonpublic personal information to implement an information security program and to notify consumers, federal law enforcement, appropriate administrative agencies, payment card networks, and consumer reporting agencies of certain data breaches of unencrypted sensitive information likely to cause identity theft or fraudulent transactions on consumer financial accounts.”

While there is strong support for the Data Security Act of 2015, those opposing the measure believe this Act is an attack on state privacy laws. Opponents feel the bill does not cover all forms of personal information that could be at risk in a data breach, and the Act itself supersedes state laws that may include this information. Furthermore, the attorney general and officials from a state will not be able to respond in the same way to data breaches in their local areas. Since local authorities are often the first respondents to these crimes, limiting their powers could actually do more harm than good.

The bill still needs the approval of Congress to officially be put into action, but thus far, it has received strong support from many credit unions, banks, retailers, and government officials.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 10, 2015. For up-to-date
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