Washington Update

Senator Reintroduces Data Privacy Bill

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the latest version of a bill aimed at enhancing personal information and privacy. The Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014, was first introduced by Leahy in 2005. The bills states that business entities that comply with both the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the Health Information Technology for Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, would be in compliance with the legislation’s standards. These business entities include vendors of personal health records and third-party service providers.

The bill requires companies that have databases with sensitive personal information to establish and implement data privacy and security programs. It would also establish a single national standard for data breach notification and require notice to consumers when their personal information has been compromised. The bill would make it an explicit felony to damage critical infrastructure systems or information, with violators subject to as much as 20 years of imprisonment.

An earlier version of the bill passed the Judiciary Committee in the 112th Congress, but never saw Senate floor action. The new legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN) and Charles Schumer (D-NY).

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