NEW LAW WOULD INCENTIVIZE CEOS TO PROTECT US
At last! The United States Senate has at last made a move to protect consumer data. Several US Senators are sponsoring a bill called the Data Security and Breach Notification Act. If it becomes a new law, it will help motivate business leaders like CEOs to protect their customers from data theft. It would impose criminal sentencing in the future. That would apply to anyone who is convicted of “intentionally and willfully” hiding the theft of data via system breaches. The penalties include fines or up to five years in prison. It could also mean both! Consumers might finally get some protection. Or will they?
BILL SPONSORED AFTER HUGE UBER AND EQUIFAX BREACHES
Three Democrats sponsored the possible new law. The most august is the commerce committee’s ranking left member, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida. The others are Sens. Blumenthal of Connecticut and Baldwin of Wisconsin. Nelson released a statement describing how necessary it is to protect consumer data. Hackers have become a regular menace the past few years. But 2017 gave us story after story of large-scale hacking. “Congress can either take action now to pass this long overdue bill or continue to kowtow to special interests who stand in the way of this commonsense proposal. When it comes to doing what’s best for consumers, the choice is clear,” Nelson said.
UBER AND EQUIFAX HID OVER 200 MILLIONS BREACHES COMBINED
Officials see Uber’s handling of its data breach as particularly egregious. Up to 57 million people who use their service saw their data exposed to hackers. Blumenthal believes that corporate leaders will only be as responsible, and responsive, as the law requires them to be. But compared to Uber, Equifax compromised a major portion of the entire American market. Equifax leaders waited an incredible 41 days to make their data theft public. It’s possible that hackers accessed up to 145.5 million consumers’ data. So far, over 200,000 of those consumers have had their credit information stolen. Most officials spoke harshly about the Equifax news. But 4 months have gone by with no action.
BILL WOULD CREATE PATH FORWARD FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION
These are staggering numbers, with huge possible problems moving forward. The new bill would also create incentives to develop technology that would protect user data, even if exposed to hackers. It also creates a baseline for “reasonable” expectations for privacy and consumer protection. But destroying old records will also be key, especially from data theft. Republicans and Democrats all publicly agree that protections are needed every time a new breach is announced. But we will have to see what happens when Data Security and Breach Notification Act comes up for a vote.
CONSUMERS MORE VULNERABLE THAN EVER TO DATA THEFT
Do enough elected officials work together to protect us, and our data? We’ll find out one way, or the other. But 2017 introduced us to a lot of new normalcy. Privacy is a joke. That’s now normal. Criminals make a lot of money on data breaches. That may be new, or not. But the United States government has done as little as possible to protect us. That is probably not new, either.
KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT, PUSH FOR PENALTIES
But people talking about it? That’s a new normal that could mean something. One possible protection is just a bill for now. Let’s see how it does on Capital Hill. Europe does a better job protecting its consumers. Let’s watch and see it this bill goes anywhere. Otherwise we need to get more Bills in line to be voted on, in public. Big Brother needs to do more than just watch. So do CEOs.