Massachusetts Senate passes data breach bill regulating consumer reporting agencies
Massachusetts Senate passes data breach bill regulating consumer reporting agencies

By a 38-0 margin, the Massachusetts Senate last week unanimously passed S.2455, a bill that affords citizens enhanced protections in the event of a breach affecting a consumer credit reporting agency such as Equifax. 

The state's House of Representatives previously passed a similar bill, meaning the two legislations will have to be reconciled and voted on again before it goes to the governor.

"The recent Equifax breach left the personal information of millions of Bay Staters vulnerable," said bill sponsor Sen. Barbara L'Italian (D-Andover), as reported by the Daily Hampshire Gazette. "This feels like a massive betrayal."

As currently written, the bill requires consumer reporting agencies to offer affected individuals free credit monitoring services for at least five years, without first requiring them to waive future legal action, if a breach exposed their Social Security numbers.

Moreover, reporting agencies may not charge a fee to consumers for freezing or unfreezing on their credit, and they must comply with a consumer's request to institute a security freeze with three days of written request, or one day by telephone or electronic request.

Additionally, the bill forbids parties from viewing a consumer's credit report without first disclosing the reason behind the access request and then obtaining the consent from the individual consumer.