Yesterday evening, House members Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Peter Welch (D-VT) released their draft bill on data breach notification, entitled the “Data Security and Breach Notification Act.” Besides creating a national data breach standard and preempting most existing state data breach protections, the bill would substantially undermine the Federal Communications Commission’s existing authority over data security and breach notification regarding consumers' telephone records data.
The following may be attributed to Charles Duan, staff attorney with Public Knowledge:
“We strongly oppose the provisions of the Data Security and Breach Notification Act that would strip the Federal Communications Commission of its ability to fully protect consumers' right to privacy in their telephone records. Communications privacy is a number-one concern of the American people, 67% of whom believe and expect their telephone calls to be secure according to a recent Pew study. This bill likely undermines the trust that the people have come to expect in their communications services.
“The timing of the bill is only more remarkably unfortunate. The FCC has just completed its historic Open Internet order, supporting the millions of Americans who asked for strong net neutrality protections. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler only two days ago said that privacy will be a top issue for the Commission. It is a slap in the face of the American public that this bill would stop the FCC from continuing its mission of protecting the consumer interest in the area of communications privacy.
“We certainly believe that data breach legislation is necessary and essential, and look forward to working with the bill's sponsors and members of Congress to craft appropriate laws that properly protect the consumer interest. This bill, however, does not do that, and we cannot support it.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.