Removing Barriers Blog

CUNA Writes to the Senate’s Homeland Security Subcommittee Prior to Hearing on Data Breaches
Posted March 07, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to Chairman Portman and Ranking Member Carper prior to the Senate Homeland Security’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing entitled, “Examining Private Sector Data Breaches.” 

In the letter CUNA wrote that the cornerstone of any new data privacy requirements should be robust data security requirements for entities that collect consumers’ personal information.

“Credit unions have met with members of this committee to detail damage to credit unions and their members from data breaches. The current gaps in data protection and privacy laws hurt consumers and businesses as information is misused by criminals and other actors with malicious intent. Financial institutions are at the vanguard for misuse of stolen data.”

CUNA has been actively engaged with both the House and Senate on data breach legislation.  Last week, CUNA wrote to the House and Senate Commerce Committees prior to their data privacy hearings.  Additionally, CUNA’s Chief Advocacy Officer wrote to all 535 Congressional offices calling on Congress to require all entities handling data to meet strict data security requirements, create a national standard that pre-empts the current patchwork of regulations and protects American interests from cyberthreats that could be linked to foreign entities seeking to disrupt U.S. interests.

CUNA’s letters continue to state:

  • Any new privacy law should cover both privacy and data security. There cannot be privacy of data without protection from loss due to breach or other types of theft;
  • The law should cover all institutions, not just tech companies, credit-rating agencies, and other narrow sectors of the economy. Any company that collects, uses or shares personal data or information has the opportunity to misuse the data or lose the data through breach;
  • Data security requirements should be based upon protection of data to prevent theft and misuse;
  • Notification or disclosure after the fact are important but are not the stopping point for adequate protection. By the time a breach is disclosed, harm could already have befallen hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of individuals, so robust protection is paramount for any new requirements;
  • A law should provide mechanisms to address the harms that result from privacy violations and security violations, including data breach. Increasingly courts are recognizing rights of action for individuals and companies (including credit unions). However, individuals and companies should be afforded a private right of action to hold those that violate the law accountable, and regulators should have the ability to take action against entities that violate the law; and
  • Any new law should preempt state requirements to simplify compliance and create equal expectation and protection for all consumers. Just like moving away from the sector specific approach, the goal should be to create a national standard for all to follow.