We Should Protect Digital Privacy

The TJX data breach now looks to be the biggest theft of personal data in our history -- affecting 47.5 million credit and debit card accounts, at the latest count.

When it comes to protecting Americans’ privacy, what we have today are analog rules in a digital world. Meanwhile, digital technology marches briskly on at light speed, leaving us all the more overdue in catching up to the erosion of privacy. It may be tempting just to throw up our hands in frustration and assume it’s too late to do anything about drawing lines to protect Americans’ privacy. But in fact it’s not too late.

Sen. Specter (R-Pa.) and I have worked on a good data privacy bill that was reported by the Committee two years ago but never taken up by the Senate. Our Personal Data Privacy and Security Act would establish stronger penalties to deter identity theft and requires companies to notify individuals when their information has been compromised.

We intend to bring our bill before the Judiciary Committee for a vote in the weeks ahead. And after that, it deserves to be a priority for the Senate.

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