via Broadband Breakfast
WASHINGTON, June 3, 2011 – The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade met on Thursday to learn the lessons from recent large-scale customer data breaches at Sony and Epsilon.
The hearing examined the risks of the unprecedented data breaches, which Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Chair of the subcommittee, called a ‘ground zero’ for cyber attacks. Other members of the subcommittee also assessed current investigation efforts by those companies, and gathered input and support to craft new data breach legislation.
Bono Mack, along with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), and other members of the subcommittee, used the hearing to consider measures for the first phase of broader privacy legislation.
The breaches at Sony and Epsilon are the two largest in what has been a string of recent virtual break-ins at companies internationally. Google announced the breach of several hundred personal Gmail accounts – including those of several senior U.S. government officials, military personnel and political activists – a day prior to the hearing.
Bono Mack is not the first to attempt to draft data breach legislation. Waxman, in an opening statement to the subcommittee, urged Congress to pass the Data Accountability and Trust Act, from the 111th Congress.
During comments she made after the hearing, however, Bono Mack emphasized that the increased sophistication of hackers and their support from organized crime, along with the increased consumer reliance upon cloud-based technologies necessitates new legislative action.
“You don’t want to reinvent the entire wheel, and you never want legislation that’s going to stifle the growth of the Internet,” said Bono Mack, “but the world has changed in the past two and four years.”