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Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Democrats in the Senate and House proposed new legislation Tuesday that would impose substantial, mandatory fines for breaches at credit bureaus.

Driving the news: The bill — proposed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Il.) — is a response to the massive 2017 Equifax breach. If it was in effect at the time of the breach, the proposed legislation would have fined Equifax at least $1.5 billion, by the lawmakers' tally.

Details: The Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act would fine credit bureaus $100 for each person with at least one piece of private information stolen in a breach, and $50 for each additional piece.

  • The definition of breach appears to be expansive, including any exposure of information to an unauthorized party.
  • The bill would additionally open a cybersecurity office in the Federal Trade Commision and require prompt notification of the government of any breach.
  • The bill would only apply to companies with revenues of $7 million a year or more, and fines would be limited to 50% of revenue.

Why it matters: Little has been done to impose cost on credit bureaus for cybersecurity negligence since the Equifax breach.

  • Credit bureaus are unique: While it's ordinary citizens whose data get compiled by the companies, it's financial services firms — not the citizens — who are the bureaus' customers. Critics believe that means there's little financial incentive outside regulatory oversight for the bureaus to protect data.

The other side: Having credit bureaus may put data at risk, but not having credit bureaus may potentially be worse. Without credit bureaus, there's no quick objective test to determine who should get a mortgage or credit card. In the past, that's made it difficult for poor people and minorities to get those services.

Go deeper

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.

24 mins ago - Technology

Facebook seeks fountain of youth

Data: Piper Sandler Taking Stock With Teens Study; Chart: Axios Visuals

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday said that the company is pivoting its strategy to focus on young adults, following reports that teens have fled its apps.

Why it matters: A series of stories based on leaked whistleblower documents suggest the company sees the aging of its user base as an existential threat to its business.

Too big to cover alone: Newsrooms team up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

News outlets are increasingly willing to work together on big, multifaceted stories — including this week's reporting on leaked documents from a Facebook whistleblower.

Why it matters: Collaborative efforts help bring more resources to bear on complex stories, some of which require a global reporting effort. But they require high degrees of coordination, and competition can sometimes get in the way.