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Senator Leahy Introduces the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act

In light of the Target consumer data breach, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) reintroduced on January 8 a bill he originally authored in 2005, S. 1897, the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014. The bill would require companies that maintain personal data to establish and implement internal policies to protect that information. It would also establish a national standard for data breach notification and require businesses to take additional actions to safeguard the personal information they collect.

In addition, the bill would increase penalties for companies faced with data breaches. Responsibility would fall on these organizations to alert their customers about any security breaches that could lead to economic damage for the consumer. The bill would impose penalties on any company that tries to conceal such breaches from their clientele. Although no hearing has currently been scheduled for the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee is expected to hold a hearing on data privacy and cybersecurity this session.

As handlers of valuable and personal information of their students, faculty, and staff, any standards established by the government may impact the way in which institutions of higher education operate on a daily basis and the internal policies institutions establish to protect such information. EDUCAUSE will continue to monitor this and similar legislation.

More information on this bill is available here and press coverage here.

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