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ICFE eNEWS #16-38 - November 3rd 2016

Is It Time For a National Data Breach Notification Law?

Part 2 - What Do Consumers Think?

By Yan Ross, Director of Special Projects, ICFE

Just three months ago, ICFE's newsletter on this topic concluded that there was little likelihood that a national breach notification law would be adopted during the current session of Congress. While that is still true, it now appears that there has been some increase among consumers in the perceived need for such a law.

It's not apparently a partisan issue, either. Even during a period fraught with political activity, a recent survey shows there is widespread support for a single national standard for data breach notification. Some 86 percent of those surveyed favor such a standard for companies to notify customers of a data breach rather than the current patchwork of state laws.

The survey was conducted by the organization Public Opinion Strategies and results were reported to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform's annual summit last week. Further, this concern cuts across the partisan spectrum: 77 percent of Independents, 83 percent of Republicans and 93 percent of Democrats indicate favor for a national policy.

Additional points of interest in the report include the following:

  • The vast majority think data breaches are inevitably going to affect major companies. Seventeen percent say that it is "inevitable," while another 63 percent say it will "probably" happen. Only 16 percent say that data breaches will only happen to companies which are negligent or incompetent in handling this information.
  • Some 84 percent, support reining in investigations and lawsuits by ensuring that we have consumer protection laws that specifically address data privacy, and not allow government regulators and lawyers to rely on older laws. A mere 11 percent oppose this proposal.
  • Those polled say that companies who make investments up-front in cyber-security but still suffer a database breach should not be sued (70 percent).
  • Three-quarters say that companies which respond afterward by quickly notifying its customers, providing free credit monitoring, and fixing the security problems in its systems also should not be sued.
  • Nearly 70 percent, say that they would "limit class action lawsuits to people who have personally suffered identity theft, fraudulent activity in bank or credit card accounts or other financial harm." Exposure would not constitute harm, therefore.

According to the report, "The survey clearly demonstrates overwhelming and consistent support for policies to reform how data breaches are handled in legal proceedings and by government regulators."

But the survey only covered voters, not industry or interest group voices. Action is by no means assured, as there are still a broad variety of participants in the process wishing to be heard to the contrary. Among them are certain industry groups, States-rights advocates, and even consumer protection spokespersons, all with their own versions of why the current patchwork may actually serve the interests of consumers most efficiently.

Accordingly, the remaining question is whether the federal government will take action in response to this independent report. The new Congress coming into office in 2017 may have a different set of priorities than the outgoing 115th.

ICFE will stay tuned to these developments, so watch for future reports.

The ICFE's Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist ® XV CITRMS® course is now available both in printed format and online.

The Textbook and Desk Reference edition of the course book is also available online. Bulk pricing and discounts for veterans and students available. Inquire at yan.ross@icfe.info

Yan Ross Bio PhotoYan Ross is ICFE's Director of Special Projects, and the author of the Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist ® XV CITRMS® course. As an accredited educator for over 20 years, he has addressed Identity Theft Risk Assessment and management for consumers, organizations holding personally identifiable information, and professionals who work with individuals and organizations who are at risk of falling victim to identity thieves.

Paul S Richard PhotoICFE eNEWS is available FREE upon request by visiting our Web site and filling out the contact form, and selecting "Yes" for "Add to Mailing List. Please pass this eNEWS on to your peers and interested others and invite them to subscribe for free. Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site: StudentDebtHelp.org

Sent by:

Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation).  The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. 
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org).  CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed.  In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much.  ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org.  Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G,  a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.

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