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Senators Mark Warner and Elizabeth Warren. Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Mark Warner introduced a bill today that would allow the Federal Trade Commission to slap penalties on credit reporting agencies (CRAs), like Equifax, when they have inadequate cybersecurity, when their data is breached, and when they don’t report those breaches in a timely manner. It also includes measures to compensate consumers whose data is compromised.

Why it matters: Equifax’s massive breach, announced last September, compromised over 145 million Americans’ personal identifying information, including Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, and driver’s license numbers.

Although Democrats and Republicans alike grilled executives from Equifax on the breach last fall, bills that would have compensated affected consumers went nowhere.

Between the lines:

  • Warner has floated the idea that federal data breach laws could be recrafted to address different industry-specific needs, per Politico’s Martin Matishak.
  • It’s no shocker that the bill comes from two Democrats — states currently have different rules on reporting breaches, and Republican support for a proposal that would allow the federal government to preempt those state rules will likely be difficult to secure.

The bill, known as the “Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act,” is about maintaining Americans’ access to credit in spite of a company’s data breach for Senator Warner. “This bill will ensure that companies like Equifax…are taking appropriate steps to secure data that’s central to Americans’ identity management and access to credit.”

  • The bottom line, per Senator Warren: “If companies like Equifax can’t properly safeguard the enormous amounts of highly sensitive data they are collecting and centralizing, then they shouldn’t be collecting it in the first place.”
  • It would create an Office of Cybersecurity at the FTC, which would conduct annual inspections of cybersecurity at CRAs.
  • Proposed penalties: In cases of “woefully inadequate cybersecurity” or failure to notify, the Senators propose fining doubly the automatic per consumer penalties, and increase the maximum penalty to 75% of the company’s gross revenue.
  • Proposed compensation: A base penalty of $100 per consumer who had one piece of personal identifying information (PII) breached, and $50 for each additional one. Normally, consumers will receive $1 or $2 back, per the Senators.
  • The bill would also force CRAs to return half of what they pay to the government back to consumers.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Sports

Unvaccinated athletes face 21-day quarantine at Beijing Olympics

Logos for the 2022 Winter Olympics at Yanqing Ice Festival in February 2021 in Beijing. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Athletes, staff members and journalists at the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be required to quarantine for three weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlined in its newly-published "playbooks."

Why it matters: The quarantine period is longer than the Games themselves, meaning vaccinations or an earlier arrival date will be required to participate in or cover the Games.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
5 hours ago - Economy & Business

FTX CEO predicts more U.S. crypto flight

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

FTX doesn't look much like a company valued at $25 billion. Its new headquarters, located in a sleepy part of The Bahamas, is so nondescript as to not even have a sign. But it does expect to soon have neighbors.

Driving the news: Founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried tells "Axios on HBO" to expect "more and more crypto flight from the states" if the U.S. doesn't soon create a regulatory regime for cryptocurrencies.

Developed countries reveal $100 billion climate finance plan ahead of COP26

Alok Sharma, head of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, speaks in Paris on Oct. 12. ( Li Yang/China News Service via Getty Images)

After 12 years of fits and starts, industrialized nations on Monday put forward a detailed plan to provide at least $100 billion annually in climate aid to developing countries starting by 2023.

Why it matters: The plan, presented by representatives of Canada and Germany, is aimed at defusing one of the biggest sources of tension at COP26, which is the failure of industrialized nations to follow through on their financial commitments.