STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Dems want to penalize credit companies whose data is breached

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Mark Warner introduced legislation Wednesday targeting credit companies like Equifax and t...

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 5:48 PM
Updated: Jan 10, 2018 5:48 PM

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Mark Warner introduced legislation Wednesday targeting credit companies like Equifax and the way they respond to data breaches.

Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, told CNN's "New Day" that the legislation would enforce penalties for credit companies whose data was stolen. But with no Republican co-sponsors, the bill's success is uncertain in a GOP-controlled Congress.

Cybercriminals penetrated Equifax, one of the largest credit bureaus, in July

The company only revealed the hack two months later

"We had a hearing in banking and asked a lot of questions about it of the former CEO of Equifax, and you know what we found out, Equifax might make money off the breach," Warren told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day."

"Sen. Warner and I decided this was just fundamentally wrong and we are introducing a bill today to say that when a credit reporting agency let's your data be stolen, that there are substantial automatic penalties that go into place and there's money that automatically goes back to the people whose data has been stolen," Warren said.

Cybercriminals penetrated Equifax, one of the largest credit bureaus, in July and stole the personal data of 145 million people. It was considered among the worst breaches of all time because of the amount of sensitive information exposed, including Social Security numbers.

The company only revealed the hack two months later. It could have an impact for years because the stolen data could be used for identity theft.

Firms, including Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, sell that data to banks, landlords, employers and other outlets so they can learn more about customers. Whether data brokers do enough to keep that private information secure is under scrutiny.

Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith, who stepped down after the breach was revealed, testified to Congress last year and blamed the security failure on one person who had since been fired.

"Two things would be different," Warren said. "The first one is, Equifax would be paying a penalty that could be over $1 billion for its breach, but more to the point that would be the warning to Equifax and every other credit reporting agency -- that if you do this, you are not going to walk away unscathed, and that means the credit reporting agencies will have a real reason to invest much more heavily in security."

She added, "What we don't want to have is for companies like this to say this is basically the price of doing business, we want to put a real penalty in place so they put in place the kind of security protections that legitimate firms should have."

Warren grilled Smith during his testimony, arguing that Equifax was making money from its data breach.

Equifax offered consumers one year of credit monitoring for free to protect themselves from identity theft after the hack. After that, consumers will have to pay a standard rate of $17 per year.

CNN reported in October that 7.5 million Americans have signed up for the service through Equifax. If only one million individuals were to extend the service for an additional year, the company would earn more than $200 million in revenue as a result of this breach, Warren said during the hearing.

A message left with Equifax seeking response to Warren's claim Wednesday was not immediately returned.

Data breach legislation has long been something members from both parties in Congress have pursued in response to significant breaches, but such efforts have thus far failed to achieve virtually any momentum besides committee action.

Terre Haute
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
Robinson
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 43°
Indianapolis
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 42°
Rockville
Overcast
42° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 35°
Casey
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 38°
Brazil
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
Marshall
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 50°
Rainy Thursday
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 393797

Reported Deaths: 9889
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1811085450
DuPage23780615
Lake21373514
Will19141430
Kane17421348
Winnebago10703182
St. Clair8096221
Madison7373157
McHenry6671121
Champaign639028
Unassigned4786270
Peoria474877
McLean430138
Sangamon424863
Rock Island417393
Kankakee350581
Macon330854
Tazewell280956
Kendall279730
LaSalle255465
DeKalb246942
Coles203040
Adams200422
Boone195325
Williamson193861
Clinton182829
Vermilion181011
Jackson158426
Whiteside158430
Knox136221
Randolph131415
Ogle12717
Effingham12264
Marion110220
Stephenson10759
Franklin103310
Grundy10197
Morgan98324
Monroe97130
Bureau94817
Jefferson92052
Henry8637
Christian84629
Macoupin82911
Union79925
McDonough78920
Lee7692
Douglas7339
Shelby71512
Fayette69924
Livingston69210
Woodford67615
Crawford6636
Montgomery64416
Logan6144
Saline5969
Fulton5571
Jo Daviess5369
Warren5299
Bond5189
Iroquois51519
Wayne50914
Jersey48121
Cass46811
Perry46516
Moultrie4436
Carroll43712
Pike3887
Johnson3760
Lawrence3518
Richland34218
Washington3272
Clay32413
Hancock3214
Mason3175
Clark31417
Cumberland3086
Greene29915
Mercer2876
De Witt2756
White2744
Jasper27210
Piatt2651
Pulaski2451
Wabash2415
Ford20814
Menard1881
Marshall1663
Edgar15910
Massac1582
Alexander1361
Hamilton1352
Henderson1310
Brown1170
Edwards1140
Gallatin1102
Scott1090
Putnam980
Schuyler931
Stark923
Calhoun640
Hardin560
Pope421
Out of IL10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 169112

Reported Deaths: 4227
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26448794
Lake14804364
St. Joseph9866173
Elkhart9549145
Allen8886235
Hamilton6541119
Vanderburgh626970
Tippecanoe409816
Porter361451
Hendricks3472138
Monroe342638
Johnson3352131
Delaware318577
Clark312965
Vigo288341
Madison260797
LaPorte244165
Cass232725
Kosciusko214729
Warrick208965
Floyd190569
Howard172566
Dubois153526
Marshall152829
Bartholomew150758
Wayne149833
Grant138140
Henry137730
Boone132550
Noble127335
Hancock127144
Jackson123319
Dearborn105828
Lawrence102238
Morgan100940
Gibson96712
Clinton95216
Shelby94536
Daviess94136
Knox86110
LaGrange83115
Harrison82424
Fayette81022
DeKalb80011
Putnam78817
Posey7837
Jasper7235
Miami6985
Steuben6849
Montgomery65322
White64016
Adams6177
Greene59438
Scott56916
Decatur54739
Whitley5086
Ripley5018
Wells49011
Wabash4899
Clay4757
Sullivan47414
Starke47310
Huntington4725
Spencer4336
Orange43225
Randolph42711
Fulton4118
Jefferson4095
Perry40414
Washington3983
Jennings39613
Franklin38825
Pike36718
Fountain3563
Carroll35213
Jay3516
Vermillion2871
Tipton28623
Rush2654
Parke2644
Blackford2525
Newton24111
Owen2211
Martin2050
Pulaski1814
Crawford1661
Brown1523
Ohio1377
Union1240
Benton1130
Switzerland1030
Warren1021
Unassigned0236