Warner, Warren Introduce Legislation to Hold Credit Reporting Agencies Accountable

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The legislation, introduced by Senators Warren and Warner, would enable the FTC to supervise CRA's data security practices, establishes penalties for violations of data security practices, and ensures that consumers whose data is stolen are compensated.

The cybersecurity bill would impose strict financial penalties on credit reporting agencies hit by data breaches, require significantly higher recovery compensation for affected customers, and tasked with annually inspecting credit reporting agencies' cybersecurity infrastructures.

As the LA Times notes, the Data Breach and Compensation Act would also "add a $50 fine for each additional piece of compromised personally identifiable information for each consumer".

The Senators said that if this bill was in place a year ago, Equifax would have faced a fine of "at least $1.5 billion".

"We appreciate this bill's attention to key weaknesses in consumer data protection".

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Although the FTC launched an investigation into the Equifax data breach in September, it remains to be seen whether the company will be ordered to pay fines. "We look forward to working with Members of Congress to pass legislation that works to prevent future breaches and ensures that consumers are protected and compensated if their information is compromised".

"This bill establishes much-needed protections for data security for the credit bureaus".

Warner called Equifax's massive breach "particularly egregious" during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" immediately following their CNN spot. In the event that a data breach does occur and the reporting agency is found to have been remiss in making reasonable attempts to secure the data, the agency would be fined $100 per hacked record with a maximum payout set at 50 percent of the agency's gross revenue from the previous year.

"Senator Warner and Senator Warren have proposed a concrete response to a serious problem facing American consumers", said Electronic Privacy Information Center President, Marc Rotenberg.

"I worry [the USA will] continue to go out and build and invest in the world's best 20th-century military, in terms of planes and tanks and ships, when many of our adversaries are not making investment in traditional military but making investments in cyber warfare tools where candidly ... we are not fully protected", Warner said. Warner chaired the first congressional hearing on protecting consumer data from the threat posed by hackers targeting retailers' online systems. Sen.

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