Congress Moves CU Bid On Identity TheftBill

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WASHINGTON - (03/17/06) – The House Financial ServicesCommittee approved a bill requiring consumer notification in databreaches Thursday, after committing to give serious considerationlater on to a credit union-backed proposal requiring partiesresponsible for data breaches pay the costs of card replacementsand other related expenses. “What this says,” said Rep.Michael Capuano, D-Mass., “is, if you screw up, you pay forit.” Capuano was urged on by NAFCU and America’sCommunity Bankers, who have been told of members spending hundredsof thousands of dollars to reissue credit cards due to databreaches in recent months. Capuano agreed to withdraw his amendmentafter committee leaders agreed to work on it further as the billprogresses through the legislative process. The committee measure,one of several data breach bills working their way throughCongress, would require retailers, processors and financialinstitutions to notify their customers if a data breach that maycause harm. The panel rejected a bid by Democratic members toinclude a provision which would allow consumers to‘freeze’ their credit when they learn of that theirinformation may be have been breached. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala.,said the FACT Act passed in 2004 allows already allows consumers toput a fraud watch on their accounts when they suspect theirinformation has been breached. “The law’s only been ineffect for one year. Let it work,” said Bachus.

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