The following editorial urging Congress to pass a national data protection law is from today’s New York Times:
In 2006, a Veterans Affairs Department analyst lost a laptop and external drive with Social Security numbers and other personal data from more than 26 million veterans and active duty troops. There was a national call for a federal law to protect this sort of data — as there has been after other big data breaches — but nothing was done. Finally, a bill is moving in the Senate that would put more protections in place for personal data.
The Leahy bill applies both to the private companies and to government, which is important, since both the private and public sectors have been responsible for major data breaches in the past few years. It would require data brokers — companies that collect personal data and sell it to third parties — to inform consumers about the data they have on them and allow people to correct erroneous information. The bill also makes it a crime to intentionally conceal a security breach that exposes personal data, and it increases criminal penalties for identity theft by use of electronic personal data.
Read more in the New York Times.