Regulators seek more authority in data breach bill

FTC officials fear draft House legislation might be too narrow to fix the problem.

Shutterstock image: secure data stream.

Federal regulators told lawmakers March 18 they want to see tougher provisions on rulemaking authority and protection of personal information added to data breach notification legislation before it becomes law.

Congress is feeling the heat to pass some form of data protection bill, in the wake of a seemingly endless streak of large-scale hacks of consumer information, most recently the cyberattack against Premera Blue Cross, which compromised information on 11 million customers.

"The reason it's important to do something now is that 2014 was dubbed the year of the breach," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a co-author of the draft measure and vice-chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The bill, which was recently released as a discussion draft, would set a national standard for companies to report data breach notifications within 30 days of the discovery of a hack, if there is a risk of financial harm or fraud to consumers. The draft defines personal information as Social Security numbers, as well as account credentials stored by covered commercial companies. The bill would preempt the patchwork of 47 state laws covering data breach notification, but would not intrude on the areas of health care and financial institution data covered by existing law.

"I think this bill is better for consumers than current law," said Jon Leibovitz, who was chairman of the Federal Trade Commission during President Barack Obama's first term and is now co-chairman of the 21st Century Privacy Coalition.

Blackburn and her co-sponsor, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), are taking a deliberately narrow approach with the legislation, to establish clear rules for the kind of retailer breaches that have compromised the information of hundreds of millions of consumer records nationwide.

"By targeting the most sought-after personal information, and the areas currently lacking federal protections, this bill avoids controversial issues that have derailed past efforts," said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Covering more data

But according to the FTC, this approach might be too narrow.

Jessica Rich, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC, said the categories of covered personal information need to be expanded to include identification numbers for state-issued drivers licenses, passports, and insurance policies -- all potential vectors for identity theft.

Additionally, categories of information such as precise geolocation data, health data, and data collected from Internet-enabled devices are of potential use to hackers, and should be included in the bill.

The FTC would also like to have rulemaking authority to craft rules of the road for data protection and breach notification, to respond to future threats that are not contemplated under the draft.

Another provision would take away authority of the Federal Communications Commission over telecommunications firms whose subscriber data and use information is disclosed, and move it to the FTC.

Clete Johnson, chief counsel for the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, worried that if the bill became law as written "the FTC would not have the authority to develop rules to protect the security of consumers' data or update requirements as new security threats emerge and technology evolves."

Even with the liberal Welch as a co-author, some Democrats on the panel oppose the draft, mostly because it would preempt the more stringent state breach notification and data protection laws. The bill has the backing of the Republican leaders on the committee, and appears poised to move, whether or not it is tweaked to bring along more Democrats.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.