US to introduce three new laws to combat privacy and data breaches

The United States is planning to introduce three new laws in an attempt to combat recent privacy and data breaches, that is if President Obama is able to sign them.

The first law, entitled the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, would make it a legal requirement that companies inform their customers within a maximum 30 day time-window if their personal information was breached.

Another law, which Obama is calling the "Consumer Bill of Rights", will allow people to have more control over the data companies have about them, by allowing consumers the ability to choose what data is shared and how the data is used. This is not a new law. Indeed, it is a resurrection of the "Privacy Bill of Rights" which the Obama Administration first announced back in 2012.

“We believe that consumers have the right to decide what personal data companies collect from them and how companies use that data, that information,” the president said of the consumer protection plan.

President Obama discussing the new Consumer Bill of Rights.

The third and final law, dubbed the Student Data Privacy Act, will make it illegal for educational software developers to sell data collected from students. Data will still be allowed to be collected for "important research initiatives" however.

It certainly has not been an easy couple of years for US companies, with several large retailers having personal information about customers stolen. Target had 40 million credit card numbers stolen belonging to its customers in 2013 and Home Depot also had large-scale security breaches in late 2014. One of the most recent large-scale hacks was on Sony Pictures, which has kept privacy high on the agenda of the US Government it seems.

More information is expected to be announced on the 12th January, when Barack Obama talks to the US Federal Trade Commission. The White House added that the planned legislation would be released "within 45 days" and it is calling on Congress to consider it as a matter of importance.

Source: BBC News | Digital padlock security image courtesy of Shutterstock

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