Rep. Jan Schakowsky: Defending Against Public and Private Data Breaches

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–June 15, 2015.

“Early this month the Office of Personnel Management reported that hackers have accessed the Social Security numbers and personnel data of millions of federal employees. If you were impacted you should get a letter or an email — in fact, you may have already gotten one. Click here to view a special website OPM has set up for those who have been impacted and click here to read a statement by OPM on this breach. In addition, late last month, reports emerged that hackers gained access to past tax returns of more than 100,000 people. The IRS is sending letters to those who were affected.

Unfortunately, these are just some of the latest of a series of public and private data breaches that have harmed consumers across our country.  Over the past decade, almost one billion records with personal information have been compromised – things like Social Security numbers, birth dates, address and even tax filing status.  In many cases, those breaches were not highly sophisticated, and in some cases, consumers were never made aware that their information was compromised.  As the IRS hack reminds us, those data breaches have very real consequences.

The Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee – where I serve as the top Democrat – has been considering legislation regarding data breaches. As I have consistently stated, that legislation must require entities holding sensitive data to adequately protect it and to notify users or customers in the event of a breach. Had both of those requirements been in place, these breaches might not have been as effective or wide-ranging. I will continue to work to enact legislation that prioritizes data security. In the meantime please pass along this information to those who may have been impacted.”