Homeland Security committee eyes data security bill

SHSCGAC hearing
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., during Wednesday’s data security hearing.

April 3, 2014 – Witnesses spoke in support of the NAFCU-backed S. 1927, the “Data Security Act of 2014,” during a Senate committee hearing on data security Wednesday.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee heard from a number of witnesses on the subject. Among them, Financial Services Roundtable CEO Tim Pawlenty said his organization supports S. 1927 and hopes the bill will be enacted into law. He recommended passing the bill along with the House-passed and NAFCU-backed H.R. 624, the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.”

Pawlenty said progress between merchants and financial institutions on the issue of data security will be inadequate without congressional action. He pointed specifically to the need for liability protection in information sharing and national standards on breach notification. Pawlenty also noted that financial institutions have the strongest data protection and information sharing networks due largely to the fact that they are regulated and examined to ensure compliance with comprehensive data security, privacy protection, vendor management and resiliency requirements. 

Wednesday’s hearing, led by S. 1927 author and committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., focused on the growing number of data breaches and the continued need to protect consumers’ personal information. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who is the bill's lead Republican but not a committee member, attended the early part of the hearing.

NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler wrote the leaders of the Senate committee in advance of Wednesday’s hearing to urge adoption of national data security standards for retailers. Thaler praised the “Data Security Act of 2014” for its progress in establishing a federal standard for protecting data and its exemption for financial institutions already subject to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

At the close of yesterday’s hearing, Carper said he was headed to a lunch with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and committee chairs where the No. 1 item up for discussion was how to handle recent data breaches and what next steps should be taken.


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