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Sealing the breach

Over the past two years, more than 155 million Americans have had their personal information lost, stolen or compromised by data security breaches.

Unfortunately, government agencies are not immune to data breaches. This problem, as illustrated by last year’s theft of a Department of Veteran’s Affairs laptop containing 26 million individuals’ personal data, is wide-spread and needs to be seriously considered.

Recently, I introduced the Federal Agency Data Breach Protection Act, which would require government agencies to take breaches of personal data more seriously and hold them to higher standards. Currently, when information is compromised, agencies have no obligation to notify citizens. When it comes to individuals and their identities, this practice is unacceptable. My legislation will require agencies to send out an alert when breaches happen. Additionally, it requires agencies to establish procedures to better account for all Federal personal property assigned to departing employees.

Security breaches in government agencies have become all too familiar and this is inexcusable.Consumers cannot protect themselves from the particularly damaging consequences of a data breach, such as identity theft, if they are not aware that the incident occurred. It is my intent to restore the public’s faith in sharing necessary personal information with our government. The public deserves nothing less than complete security and disclosure when their identities are at stake.