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[ISN] Lawmakers act on data security bills
By Mary Mosquera
May 3, 2007
Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), ranking member on the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee, introduced a bill today that would require
agencies to better protect the sensitive data they collect and promptly
notify those whose data is lost or stolen.
The Federal Agency Data Breach Protection Act directs the Office of
Management and Budget to establish practices and standards for informing
citizens of lost data and provides a clear definition of the type of
sensitive information to which the law would apply.
In addition, it gives agency chief information officers authority to
ensure that workers comply with data security laws.
Secure information is the lifeblood of effective government policy and
management, yet federal agencies continue to hemorrhage vital data,
Davis said. "It is our duty to ask what is being done to protect the
sensitive information of millions of Americans and how we can limit the
damage when personal data is lost or stolen."
This bill is identical to one Davis introduced last year that was
incorporated into the Veterans Identity and Credit Security Act, which
passed the House in September 2006. It addresses concerns raised when a
Veterans Affairs Department employee reported the theft from his home of
a laptop computer that contained personal information on millions of
veterans. VA leaders delayed acting on the report for almost two weeks,
leaving those veterans at risk of identity theft and other crimes.
In Davis most recent annual report card last month on how well agencies
protect sensitive information and adhere to the Federal Information
Security Management Act of 2002, the government overall garnered a C-,
but several agencies, including the Homeland Security Department,
Davis bill would amend FISMA to:
* Clarify the authority an agency head could delegate to the CIO.
* Require agencies to establish data breach notification procedures in
line with OMB policies, procedures and standards.
* Authorize agencies to establish polices and procedures for accounting
for all federal personal property assigned to departing employees.
* Define sensitive personal information.
Also today, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved two data security
bills. The Notification of Risk to Personal Data Act, which Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced, would protect individuals from identity
theft by requiring agencies and businesses to notify consumers in the
event of a security breach that exposes their personal data. The
committee approved another, more comprehensive data privacy bill, the
Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2007 sponsored by Committee
Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.),
ranking Republican, with notification provisions identical to those in
Last year, Feinsteins data breach notification measure was included as
part of a comprehensive data privacy bill that passed the Judiciary
Committee but did not get Senate floor action.
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