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D.C. Attorney General Introduces New Data Security Bill

Karl A. Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia, on Thursday announced the introduction of a new bill that aims to expand data breach notification requirements and improve the way personal information is protected by organizations.

The Security Breach Protection Amendment Act of 2019 expands the types of information companies are held accountable for. Current legislation covers social security numbers, payment cards, and driver’s license numbers, and the new bill would also add passport numbers, military IDs, biometric data, health information, taxpayer identification numbers, health insurance info, and genetic information and DNA profiles to that list.

The bill also requires companies that own, maintain, license or handle personal information to implement security measures to prevent unauthorized access and data misuse.

The legislation would also require organizations to notify the AG’s office of any data breaches, and inform impacted consumers of their right (under federal law) to obtain a security freeze.

Companies that expose social security numbers will be required to provide affected customers free identity theft protection services for a period of two years.

The bill comes in response to the major data breaches suffered by major organizations in the past period. One example provided by the AG is the Equifax breach, which impacted over 140 million people, including nearly 350,000 D.C. residents.

“Data breaches and identity theft continue to pose major threats to District residents and consumers nationwide,” said AG Racine. “The District’s current data security law does not adequately protect residents. Today’s amendment will bolster the District’s ability to hold companies responsible when they collect and use vast amounts of consumer data and do not protect it. I urge the Council to pass this legislation quickly for the benefit of District residents.”

Related: California Introduces New Data Breach Notification Law

Related: State vs. Federal Privacy Laws - The Battle for Consumer Data Protection

Related: Proposed Law Classifies Ransomware Infection as a Data Breach

Related: Attorneys General File First Multistate HIPAA-Related Data Breach Lawsuit

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.