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Data Privacy and Security Bill Introduced in Senate

Senator Patrick Leahy, image © World Bank

On January 8, 2014, US Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced legislation that would protect Americans’ personal information and ensure their privacy. The Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014 (S. 1897) is cosponsored by Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Senator Leahy first authored and sponsored the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act in 2005, and he has reintroduced the legislation in each of the last four Congresses.

The bill would establish a national standard for data-breach notification, and require American businesses that collect and store consumers’ sensitive personal information to safeguard that information from cyber threats. Key provisions in the bill include:

  • Tough criminal penalties for individuals who intentionally or willfully conceal a security breach involving personal data when the breach causes economic damage to consumers
  • A requirement that companies that maintain personal data establish and implement internal policies to protect data privacy and security
  • An update to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to make attempted computer hacking and conspiracy to commit computer hacking punishable under the same criminal penalties as the underlying offense