The bipartisanship of the cyber security bills proposed in Washington demonstrates the move to tighten security on the Internet is gaining momentum. Separate bills addressing cyber security concerns were introduced in June 2011 by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.; Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; and Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif.
Sen. Franken, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, recently introduced the Location Privacy Protection Act of 20l1. The bill would require consumers to be informed as to what location information is being gathered about them and it would give consumers the option to not share that information.
"Geolocation technology gives us incredible benefits, but the same information that allows emergency responders to locate us when we're in trouble is not necessarily information all of us want to share with the rest of the world," Franken said in a statement about the bill. "This legislation would give people the right to know what geolocation data is being collected about them and ensure they give their consent before it's shared with others."
The Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (GPS Act) introduced by Sen. Wyden and Rep. Chaffetz is "designed to give government agencies, commercial entities and private citizens clear guidelines for when and how geolocation information can be accessed and used." The bill would require the government to obtain a warrant before tapping into the geolocation data of a U.S. citizen.
"All tools and tactics require rules and right now, when it comes to geolocation information, the rules aren't clear," Wyden said. "Congressman Chaffetz and I have worked to establish rules that we believe will foster the effective use of geolocation data while protecting the privacy rights of law-abiding American citizens."
Sen. Leahy, the Senate Judiciary Chairman, introduced the Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011 in June. This legislation is modeled on bills Sen. Leahy introduced into the last three sessions of Congress. It imposes criminal penalties on hackers and requires businesses that store customers' personal and credit card information and do business with the government to have adequate data privacy and security programs. This bill would also set a mandatory national data breach notification standard.
"The many recent and troubling data breaches in the private sector and in our government are clear evidence that developing a comprehensive national strategy to protect data privacy and security is one of the most challenging and important issues facing our country," Leahy said in his statement heralding his fourth attempt to get cyber security legislation passed.
Rep. Bono Mack, Chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, held a hearing on her discussion draft of cyber security legislation she titled the Secure and Fortify Data Act (SAFE Data Act). Similar to Leahy's bill, the discussion draft would set uniform national standards for data security and data breach notification.
"The Federal Trade Commission estimates that nearly nine million Americans fall victim to identity theft every year, costing consumers and businesses billions of dollars annually. And the problem is only getting worse as these online attacks increase in frequency, sophistication and boldness," Bono Mack said in her opening remarks at the hearing. "E-commerce is a vital and growing part of our economy. We should take steps to embrace and protect it - and that starts with robust cyber security. Most importantly, consumers have a right to know when their personal information has been compromised, and companies and organizations have an overriding responsibility to promptly alert them."
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