Public Knowledge welcomes Allie Bohm, Policy Counsel, to our team to focus on government affairs work in key issue areas including broadband policy, privacy, artificial intelligence, and other tech policy initiatives. She holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, and a B.A., magna cum laude, in Peace & Justice Studies, English, and Dance from Tufts University.
Today, Public Knowledge launched a new white paper, “Principles for Privacy Legislation: Putting People Back in Control of Their Information,” by Senior Vice President Harold Feld. The paper recommends four guiding principles for Congress to consider before crafting any online privacy legislation in order to create the strongest protections for consumers.
Today, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2017. The bill would place requirements on companies with sensitive consumer information, such as Equifax, to maintain safeguards to ensure the privacy and security of such data, and to notify consumers when that sensitive data is breached. Public Knowledge applauds Senator Leahy and the bill’s co-sponsors, including Senators Markey, Blumenthal, Wyden, Franken, Baldwin, and Harris for prioritizing consumer privacy in the wake of the Equifax security breach.
Last week, Congress held four hearings to investigate the Equifax data breach, which jeopardized the highly sensitive data of 145 millions Americans. The exposed consumer information includes social security numbers, prior addresses, student loans, credit card numbers, and other pieces of private data compiled into credit reports that determine if a consumer qualifies for employment, loans, or new lines of credit. For days, members of Congress questioned former Equifax CEO Richard Smith as to how the breach could have occurred and what steps the company was taking to protect consumers. Mr. Smith resigned in September after the extent of the breach was fully disclosed. During the hearings, he offered little in terms of solutions on how to protect consumers going forward, but his answers revealed significant problems with our current data security regime that Congress must address.