Press Release

McHenry Introduces the PROTECT Act in Response to Equifax Breach

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Washington, October 12, 2017 | comments

Today, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10), the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee introduced H.R. 4028, the Promoting Responsible Oversight of Transactions and Examinations of Credit Technology Act of 2017, or the PROTECT Act

Following the data breach at Equifax that exposed the personal data of over 140 million Americans, this bill would require the federal government to create uniform cybersecurity standards for credit bureaus and submit them to onsite examinations. The bill would also create a national framework for credit freezes so that victims of identity theft, active military personnel, people over 65 years of age, and children are protected. Finally, the bill would stop the credit bureaus from using Americans’ Social Security Numbers as a basis for identification by 2020.

“The Equifax data breach has harmed my constituents in western North Carolina and Americans across the country," said McHenry. "It exposed a major shortcoming in our nation’s cybersecurity laws and Congress must act. The bill I’ve introduced today takes an important first step in providing meaningful reforms to help Americans who have been impacted by this breach. It is focused on prevention, protection, and prohibition. 

“It prevents future harm to all Americans by requiring the largest credit reporting agencies to be subjected to the same standards and supervision as the rest of the financial industry," McHenry continued. "It protects Americans by creating a national credit freeze that actually works. Finally, it prohibits the largest credit reporting agencies from continuing to rely upon the most sensitive of Americans’ personal information: our Social Security Numbers.”

You can read more about the PROTECT Act in the Wall Street Journal by clicking here.

Background: H.R. 4028, the Promoting Responsible Oversight of Transactions and Examinations of Credit Technology Act of 2017, or the PROTECT Act, amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to allow national security freezes for the files and credit records of protected consumers, and it creates a nationwide framework for credit freezes. Additionally, the bill establishes supervision and examination of large consumer reporting agencies under the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Act.  Finally, the bill prohibits the largest credit reporting agencies under 603(p) from using Social Security Numbers as a method of identification by 2020.
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