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Two Key House Bills on Data Privacy and Identity Theft

This summary reviews the major data privacy and identity theft issues under debate in the 109th Congress and summarizes how H.R. 3997 and H.R. 4127 address them. It also provides a list of the key features of these and other bills under active consideration in the House and Senate.

Two bills with radically different consequences for consumers have passed out of committee in the House. These bills are the weak H.R. 3997, which has been reported out of the House Financial Services Committee, and the stronger H.R. 4127, which was unanimously reported out by the House Energy and Commerce.
Consumers Union joined with many other public interest groups in strongly opposing H.R. 3997, and we believe that consumers would be worse off if such a bill becomes law than if Congress takes no action at all. A much better outcome would for the House to move H.R. 4127, a bill supported by Consumers Union as a balanced and moderate approach to data security issues.