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Consumers Union Welcomes New Bill to Hold Credit Agencies Accountable and Protect Consumer Data

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, today praised the introduction of the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act to hold credit reporting agencies (CRAs) accountable for breaches that involve consumer data, like the massive Equifax breach that affected more than 145 million Americans. The legislation, introduced by Senators Warren and Warner, would enable the FTC to supervise CRA’s data security practices, establishes penalties for violations of data security practices, and ensures that consumers whose data is stolen are compensated.

Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology policy for Consumers Union, said,“Credit reporting agencies are a one-stop shop for hackers seeking to profit off our most sensitive and personal data. In the wake of the Equifax breach, it is clear that our data protection laws are woefully outdated and inadequate — and consumers deserve better. This legislation addresses a serious, growing problem that we’ve continually called on Congress to address. We look forward to working with Members of Congress to pass legislation that works to prevent future breaches and ensures that consumers are protected and compensated if their information is compromised.”

Consumers Union has urged lawmakers to make data security a national priority and pass legislation that would require companies to adopt reasonable practices to ensure the safety of consumer credit data. The consumer group has also called on Equifax executives to take several steps to make customers impacted by their breach whole, saying the company’s initial response to those affected was “wholly inadequate.”

Consumers Union’s guide to security freeze protection is available here. Consumer Reports’ look at opting for a credit freeze is here.