A US SENATOR has introduced legislation to protect users from online data breaches.
The bill, introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, proposes to impose fines on companies that are found to have been negligent with users' personal information.
According to the New York Times, the Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act of 2011 would introduce regulations for companies that store online data for more than 10,000 people.
The regulations would require companies to follow specific data storage guidelines to ensure that personal information is stored and protected correctly, with fines for companies that do not adhere to the guidelines.
"The goal of the proposed law is essentially to hold accountable the companies and entities that store personal information and personal data and to deter data breaches," Blumenthal told the New York Times in a phone interview. "While looking at past data breaches, I've been struck with how many are preventable."
Cyber security is a hot topic in the US Congress, and the White House has been involved in recent discussions regarding online privacy legislation.
Blumenthal also critcised Sony's inept handling of the attacks on its servers earlier this year that put 77 million customers at risk. He said that if his bill passes, customers would be able to sue companies like Sony that do not take enough precautions.
"The Sony data breach has became a poster child of why we need this law," he said. "We were working on this legislation well before that data breach occurred, but Sony is a good example of why this law should exist."
The proposed bill might prevent some attacks, but it is unlikely to stop hacking. However, if it passes companies like Sony will have to pull up their socks or potentially face regulatory fines and lawsuits. µ
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