Senate Dem pushes OPM to offer more breach protections

Senate Dem pushes OPM to offer more breach protections
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One Democratic senator wants to use legislation to force the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to provide better protections from financial fraud to the millions of government workers affected by the recent data breaches at the agency.

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  Congress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Senate passes extension of application deadline for PPP small-business loans MORE (D-Md.), who represents a considerable chunk of federal employees, plans to introduce his bill in the coming days.


The measure will extend the length of free credit monitoring that the breach victims can receive and raise the overall limit on insurance those individuals could claim in the case of identity theft.

In the wake of the breach, which has touched nearly every current and former government worker, the OPM offered to cover 18 months of credit monitoring services and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.

For vicitms of the intrusion at the agency's security clearance background check database, the OPM will offer at least three years of credit monitoring.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) is working on a House companion to Cardin's efforts.

“OPM’s proposed protection would not protect workers and retirees if hackers waited a couple of years in the future before exploiting the stolen identities,” Norton said in a statement. “The scope of the breach is bad enough; our lifetime protection would at least ease some of the anguish.”

The OPM has been clashing with federal workers since it revealed the breaches in June. Multiple unions have alleged the agency is keeping them in the dark, doing little to help their members understand exactly what danger they face.

Two major federal employees unions have already sued the agency. One union, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), is even alleging the OPM violated workers’ constitutional right to privacy by failing to adequately protect their data. The NTEU is also seeking free lifetime credit monitoring for its members. 

—Updated 7:36 p.m.