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FCW : February 2015
For Republicans in Congress looking for areas of bipartisan cooperation, data- breach notification could prove to be low-hanging fruit. There is widespread support for creating a national standard as an alternative to the 47 state laws that currently govern data breaches, although there are some key details to be ironed out. “A single requirement across the states would give companies some con- fidence that their methods are sound in handling electronic data, an inher- ently interstate activity,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, said at a Jan. 27 hearing. The basics of such legislation would include a standard definition of what constitutes a breach, whether a breach has the potential to cause harm and a minimum time period before consumers are notified. Then there are the more controversial questions of whether com- panies that notify consumers about data breaches would be indemnified against lawsuits and whether a federal standard would preempt state laws or simply aug- ment them. If Congress does get into the data- breach business, some federal agency Could this be the year for data-breach legislation? was the government’s score on the 2014 American Customer Satisfaction Index — its lowest ever 64.4 Trending would be charged with overseeing the policy. The Federal Trade Commission is one possible choice. In 2012, the FTC sued Wyndham Hotels and Resorts over a data breach, arguing that the company had failed to take adequate steps to pro- tect customer data. That suit is working its way through appeals, but so far the FTC’s jurisdiction over data breaches as a consumer protection matter has been upheld. FTC attorney Lesley Fair wrote in a blog post that so far the agency has settled 53 cases, and that number would “likely go up.” Although a handful of states have relatively minimal or no data-breach reporting requirements, others — including California and Connecticut — demand that their residents be noti- fied within five days of a hack. National firms often adopt the most stringent state standard as a baseline for doing business, a fact not lost on those Demo- crats who seek tougher federal rules. “While I clearly believe the federal government should have a role in data breach [reporting requirements]...I also believe that there have been many important protections that are at the state level that we don’t want to elimi- nate when we do federal legislation,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), the subcommittee’s ranking member. Some Democrats on the panel cau- tioned against preempting state laws, but Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said he has “been persuaded that if we can get the right standard, this is one of those situations where it really makes sense to have preemption.” Welch is working on a bill with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), vice chair- woman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. An Obama administration proposal would set a single 30-day national standard for notification that would supersede state laws. — Adam Mazmanian FCW CALENDAR Insider threats This FCW conference will focus on the deployment of analytical tools and training programs to minimize insider threats. Washington, D.C . fcw.com/InsiderThreatDetection Acquisition Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Anne Rung is among the many invited speakers at Acquisition Excellence 2015. Washington, D.C . is.gd/FCW_ae2015 3/12 3/3 February 2015 FCW.COM 3 Federal 100 Save the date! The 26th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala will honor 2014’s top achievers in the federal IT community. Washington, D.C . fcw.com/fed100 3/26 BURGESS.HOUSE.GOV A single requirement across the states would give companies some confidence that their methods are sound in handling electronic data. — REP. MICHAEL BURGESS 0215fcw_003-011.indd 3 1/28/15 9:16 AM
March 15, 2015