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WASHINGTON-A group of top Financial Services Committee Members recently introduced legislation aimed at increasing safeguards on consumer financial information and requiring notification of consumers when data breaches occur. Several high-profile incidents of data security breaches have brought the issue to the forefront in Congress. The Financial Data Protection Act of 2005 would mandate strong national standards for protecting sensitive consumer information; require institutions to notify consumers that their information has been compromised and could be used by identity thieves; and require institutions to provide consumers with a free six-month nationwide credit monitoring service upon notification of a breach. Representatives Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio), Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.), Michael Castle (R-Del.), Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), and Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) are sponsoring the legislation. “In the wake of security breaches that have exposed millions of Americans to the risk of account fraud or identity theft, the time is right for the Financial Services Committee and this Congress to act,” LaTourette said. Castle echoed, “We know of 50 database security breaches that have occurred since January 2005 that, taken together, could impact over 51 million Americans.”

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