Politico Pro: Lieu drops two consumer data protection bills
Rep. Ted Lieu is introducing a pair of bills designed to better safeguard personal data and allow consumers affected by data breaches to sue the company at fault.
The measures come the same day credit reporting giant Equifax announced that the personal information of 2.4 million more Americans was compromised by the colossal data breach the firm disclosed late last year, raising the total victim count to 147.9 million.
The Equifax hack, and others like it, "have made millions of Americans vulnerable because their sensitive information — including Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses — could be used in identity theft and other fraudulent behavior," Lieu said in a statement. "Credit reporting agencies must be held accountable when they fail to keep sensitive data safe."
The first bill, dubbed the Protecting Consumer Information Act of 2018, would boost the Federal Trade Commission's enforcement authority over credit reporting agencies. The second, titled the Ending Forced Arbitration for Victims of Data Breaches Act, would prevent companies from enacting arbitration clauses for suits related to a data breach.
After it first announced the data breach, Equifax offered those affected free credit monitoring and identity protection services if they agreed to what appeared to be a forced arbitration clause that barred people from joining forces with others to sue the company. Equifax eventually dropped the stipulation under considerable pressure.
"Together, these bills forge a path forward that can both prevent future breaches and ensure victims can seek due process when they occur," Lieu said.