Senate Democrats propose fines for credit reporting agency hacks

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NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D-Mass.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Comey back in the spotlight after Flynn makes a deal Warner: Every week another shoe drops in Russian Federation investigation MORE (D-Va.) have introduced a bill aimed at penalizing credit reporting agencies for breaches in the wake of the Equifax data breach.

The Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act would give the Federal Trade Commission authority to directly supervise CRAs' data security measures; impose penalties on CRAs to encourage sufficient consumer data protection; and compensate consumers for stolen data, Warren's office said Wednesday.

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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 was inspired by, when hackers obtained personal details about 143 million Americans, including names, addresses and Social Security numbers, from the credit reporting agency.

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Under the new legislation, Equifax would have been forced to pay an estimated $1.5bn fine following its September 2017 breach, according to senator Elizabeth Warren. The consumer group has also called on Equifax executives to take several steps to make customers impacted by their breach whole, saying the company's initial response to those affected was "wholly inadequate".

The Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act is created to make the big CRAs more accountable, following a damaging breach at Equifax a year ago which affected 145.5m Americans and 700,000 Brits. "It will ensure that credit bureaus protect your information as if you actually mattered to them and it will both punish them and compensate you when they fail to do so", said U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director, Ed Mierzwinski. "It also imposes real and meaningful penalties when credit bureaus, entrusted with our most sensitive financial information, break that trust", said National Consumer Law Center staff attorney, Chi Chi Wu. 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. Following the Equifax data breach, Sen. Public Knowledge applauds Senators Warner and Warren for prioritizing consumer privacy.

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