Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the President’s Proposals to Protect American Consumers

[The President announced on Monday a new commitment to protecting Americans from data breaches and requiring businesses to take steps to notify consumers and protect personal data.  In each of the last four Congresses, Leahy has introduced the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act to set a national standard for data breach notification, and to require businesses that collect and store consumers’ sensitive personal information to safeguard that information from cyber threats.  Last year, Leahy chaired the first Congressional hearing following the massive Target breach that affected 70 million consumers over the holiday shopping season.] 

“I welcome the President to the effort to protect American consumers by promoting a strong data breach proposal.  Whether I was chairman or ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, I have made securing and protecting consumer privacy a high priority.  I have authored and moved through the Committee legislation to establish a national standard for data breach notification and require businesses to safeguard consumers’ information from cyber threats.  The President’s new initiative on data breach notification is one piece of the necessary response to this serious problem, but we also need to make sure we protect consumer’s private information before breaches happen.  For that reason, my legislation has required companies to implement data security measures to protect personal information from cyber attacks in the first place.  Once a consumer’s privacy has been breached, the damage is already done. 

“Every month we hear about another massive data breach that affects American families who should be able to shop with confidence every time they use a credit card or enter their personal information online.  Soon I will reintroduce the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act, and I hope that others will join me in promoting comprehensive legislation that protects Vermonters and Americans in all 50 states.”

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