The data breach suffered recently by retail giant Target is the perfect opportunity to propose new data privacy legislation. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has reintroduced a piece of legislation he first authored and sponsored in 2005.
This is the fifth time since 2005 when the senator proposes the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act, a bill that’s co-sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.).
“The recent data breach at Target involving the debit and credit card data of as many as 40 million customers during the Christmas holidays is a reminder that developing a comprehensive national strategy to protect data privacy and cybersecurity remains one of the most challenging and important issues facing our Nation,” Leahy said.
“That is why today I am introducing the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act, a bill that aims to better protect Americans from the growing threats of data breaches and identity theft. This important issue will also be the focus of a hearing before the Judiciary Committee this year.”
If the bill passes, US businesses that collect personal information will be required to implement safety measures to make sure the information is protected against cyber threats. In addition, a national standard for data breach notifications will be established.
Companies that willfully conceal a security breach in which personal information is involved, and economic damage is caused to victims will face tough criminal penalties.
Furthermore, the controversial Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) would be updated so that conspiracy to commit computer hacking and attempted computer hacking would result in tougher punishments.
More precisely, these crimes would become punishable under the same penalties as the underlying offense.