In response to the growing data security threats facing businesses and consumers alike, U.S. Representative Mary Bono Mack recently introduced a new bill designed to improve data privacy.
According to the Representative, the Secure and Fortify Electronic Data Act, or SAFE Act, sets forth "responsible security policies and procedures to protect personal information."
Bono Mack's bill falls in line with legislation recently supported by the Obama Administration in that it seeks to establish a single data breach notification standard for companies across the country, rather than the myriad regulations currently used by states. If passed, the law would also give the Federal Trade Commission authority to establish data security regulations for protecting personally identifiable information, which would be enforced throughout the nation.
Stricter legislation regarding data security – and data breaches in particular – couldn't be more timely, given the slew of incidents affecting large corporations and government bodies in recent months. Data breaches, including those suffered by Sony, Epsilon and several others, highlight the potential severity of inadequate security practices and how they can affect consumer confidence.
"Today, Americans need new safeguards to prevent identity theft, and the SAFE Data Act will help to accomplish this goal," Bono Mack said in a statement on her website. "My legislation is crafted around a guiding principle: Consumers should be promptly informed when their personal information has been jeopardized."
The Obama Administration has thrown its support behind a similar bill introduced last month by Senator John Rockeller. Like the SAFE Act, the Data Security and Breach Notification Act seeks to establish a national notification standard. However, a InformationWeek reported, legislators have attempted to pass a national data breach notification bill several times in years past without success.