- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Wednesday proposed tougher requirements for companies to disclose data breaches that expose consumers’ personal information.

Rosenblum made her pitch to the House and Senate Judiciary committees and plans introduce a bill for next year’s legislative session.

Rosenblum, a first-term Democrat, says Oregon’s 2007 data-breach law is badly out of date in an era when companies collect a vast amount of information about their customers.

The existing law requires companies to notify consumers whose name is compromised in conjunction with their Social Security number, bank account number or other personal information. Rosenblum wants to broaden the list to include medical, insurance and biometric information like fingerprints.

“It’s no longer simply our Social Security numbers or financial accounts that are things worth stealing,” Rosenblum told lawmakers. “As technology changes, so must the legal infrastructure which protects that technology.”

She also wants to require companies to tell the state Department of Justice when they suffer a data breach affecting at least 100 people. Her proposal also would give the DOJ power to investigate companies that fail to comply.

The need is heightened, she said, as companies collect more information about consumers, often to better target them with advertising. The data can go far beyond consumers’ names and addresses to include the music they listen to and the articles they read.

The state of Oregon has gone after four companies for failing to comply with the existing identity theft law, according to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, which enforces it. All of those cases involved companies improperly discarding paper records that contained personal information.

The data breach laws are only one piece of a broader push to safeguard consumers’ privacy, Rosenblum said. She’d also like to require simpler online privacy policies that people can read and understand.

“Once you give over this information, this voluntary gift of data can never be taken back,” Rosenblum told reporters.

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