Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation introduced by Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) (S. 1151) that would require firms to develop comprehensive data security programs and would impose a federal breach notice obligation on firms.  The same day, the Committee also approved amended versions of breach notification measures introduced by Sen. Dianne

Last Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began its consideration of the several pending data security bills by marking up S. 1151, the legislation introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). 

S. 1151 would require business entities to develop a data privacy and security plan for protecting sensitive personally identifiable information, require agencies and business entities to notify U.S. residents in the event of a security breach involving such information, and impose criminal penalties for intentionally and willfully failing to provide notice of a security breach.

The original version of the bill also contained separate privacy requirements for data brokers, but a substitute amendment deleting that title was adopted by the Committee on Thursday.  The panel also accepted an amendment proposed by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IO), which clarified that the definition of “exceeds authorized access” in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act does not include violations of Internet terms of service agreements or employment agreements restricting computer access, and a separate manager’s amendment which limited civil liability and penalties.

Continue Reading Senate Judiciary Committee Weighs Data Security Legislation

For the fifth consecutive session of Congress, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced legislation that would establish a federal data breach notification standard.  Sen. Feinstein’s legislation — the Data Breach Notification Act of 2011 (S. 1408) — is one of a number of breach notice proposals circulating on Capitol Hill that would preempt state breach notice laws and replace them with a federal standard.  In the Senate alone, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) have introduced the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2011 (S. 1207), and Sen. Patrick Leahy has introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011 (S. 1151). 

We have heard from several sources that Sen. Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, is planning to markup S. 1207 in the near future.  And last week, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade marked up and voted to report the SAFE Data Act (H.R. 2577) (introduced by Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)) to the full House Energy & Commerce Committee. 

Unlike many of the breach bills that are circulating, Senator Feinstein’s bill is limited to breach notification obligations and does not include information security requirements.  Generally, S. 1408 is much more similar to the breach notice provisions of S. 1151 (Leahy) than S. 1207 (Rockfeller/Pryor) or H.R. 2577 (Bono Mack).

Continue Reading Feinstein Introduces Breach Notice Bill; Senate Committee May Consider Breach Notice Proposals Shortly