Bipartisan Cybersecurity Bill Drafted in House

Hearing Scheduled for Next Week

The House Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing next week to discuss the “Data Security and Breach Notification Act," a bipartisan cybersecurity bill members of the subcommittee have introduced.

The “Data Security and Breach Notification Act" is billed by the committee as a "comprehensive plan to help safeguard sensitive consumer information and shield Americans from the consequences of cyber attacks." The draft -- authored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), vice chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee (parent of the subcommittee), and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) -- would require entities that collect personal information to secure the data and provide notice to individuals if the data security is breached.

The act would do so by pre-empting the current "patchwork" of laws with a single, national protection/notification standard.

“As one of the tens of millions of Americans who has been a victim of a data breach, I know firsthand the great importance of needing to protect our personal information from identity theft," Blackburn said. "This bill will help enhance the security of sensitive information and provide much needed clarity by creating a national standard and ensure that consumers are notified of a breach without unreasonable delay."

Welch said: "Until today, Washington has been asleep at the switch while millions of Americans have had their personal information stolen by cyber criminals. Most Americans would be shocked at how inadequate current laws are at safeguarding their sensitive financial information. While this draft bill is far from perfect, it is an important step in the right direction. I will be working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make practical improvements to it as it works its way through the legislative process."

The subcommittee was said to be looking for an FCC witness for the hearing, scheduled for at 10 a.m. on March 18, which would mean a busy couple of days on the hill for the agency. The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled an FCC oversight hearing for the afternoon of March 18 that will feature all five commissioners. On March 19 the House Communications Subcommittee is holding its own FCC oversight hearing. Both of those are driven, at least in part, by the FCC's Feb. 26 decision to reclassify ISPs as telecommunications service under Title II regs.