Menendez announces legislation regarding Equifax data breach

Sen. Bob Menendez held a press conference Wednesday at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken to announce new legislation centered around the Equifax data breach. Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, which oversees credit reporting agencies, will look to require companies to better protect customer data and hold accountable those who fail to safeguard that information.

“The bill requires the top three credit bureaus to quickly inform the public and federal regulators of major data breaches,” said Menendez. “And in this age of ever evolving cyberthreats, my bill strengthens data security standards for credit reporting companies and requires they offer more help to consumers in the wake of intrusions”

The bill, known as the Commercial Data Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2017, also would create a task force to examine how to strengthen consumer protection and assist consumers impacted by a data breach. Menendez said four million New Jersey consumers face a heightened risk following the Equifax cybersecurity breach.

It’s been almost two weeks since Equifax disclosed that it suffered a cybersecurity breach in July, endangering the personal information of 143 million Americans. The company is already facing class action lawsuits as well as investigations by the FBI, Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Menendez has been a leader in calling for the Equifax breach, and the company’s response to it, to be investigated, stating in a letter earlier this month to the SEC, FTC and Department of Justice:

“As part of your investigations, we request that you conduct a thorough examination of any unusual trading, including any atypical options trading, for violations of insider trading law. To the extent that your investigations uncover any information regarding whether Equifax management employed reasonable measures to ensure the security of the now compromised data prior to this cyber breach, we would appreciate your sharing these details.”

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The senator has also sponsored legislation, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, which would give consumers more control over their personal financial data and more tools to protect themselves in the wake of the Equifax breach.

“Equifax violated the trust of millions of Americans by leaving their most personal data vulnerable to a breach. Worse over, the company rakes in profits from selling this personal data without consumers’ consent,” said Menendez, “Our common sense bill requires Equifax to do right by the consumers it has wronged, and it restores to consumers more control over their personal data.”