Florida Senator Pushes for Greater Consumer Data Protection

The renewed push from Sen. Bill Nelson comes in the wake of recent high-profile data breaches at large companies and years of congressional inaction to tackle data security lapses.

by The Bradenton Herald / January 14, 2015
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. Flickr/NASA

(TNS) – Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, of the Senate Commerce Committee said he wants Congress to pass legislation requiring companies to quickly notify consumers of data breaches.

Nelson said he intends to file legislation to do just that.

Nelson, the ranking member on the Commerce Committee, announced his intentions a day after the president called on Congress to take such action.

The renewed push for consumer notification requirements comes in the wake of recent high-profile data breaches at large companies such as Sony, Target, Home Depot and Staples and years of congressional inaction to tackle data security lapses.

"How many more consumers will be affected before something is done?” said Nelson. “Now is the time Congress must act.”

Specifically, the bill would make companies, under most circumstances, notify consumers of data breaches within 30 days. It also would direct the Federal Trade Commission to develop security standards to help businesses protect consumers' personal and financial data. Additionally, the legislation would provide incentives to businesses who adopt new technologies to make consumer data unusable or unreadable if stolen during a breach.

President Obama on Monday called for more stringent privacy protections for consumers and students during a speech at the Federal Trade Commission. A more detailed proposal is expected out later today and the initiatives will be discussed in his upcoming Jan. 20 State of the Union address.

©2015 The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.)