Bill Suggests 18 Months Free Credit Checking Facilities for Data Breach Victims in Massachusetts

July 27, 2018


A different bill has been presented in Massachusetts that requests to improve safeguards for users affected by data breaches. The bill requires free credit checking facilities to offer to people whose personal information was disclosed in a safety breach.

The bill (H.4806) was submitted on Tuesday by a House-Senate conference committee presided over by Rep. Tackey Chan and Sen. Barbara L’Italien and is a compromise bill between opposing data safety bills that were delivered to the working group on May 3. The House Bill needed users to be provided with a year of credit checking facilities after a data breach while the Senate bill needed users to be provided with 2 years of credit checking facilities after a data breach.

The conference committee proposal accepts the middle ground, needing 18 months of credit checking facilities to be provided to users free of charge after a standard safety breach. Nevertheless, a data breach at a credit checking firm (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) would need affected users to be provided with 42 weeks of credit checking facilities. This is also a conciliation since the Senate bill required 5 years of free credit checking facilities to be provided to users after a breach at a credit reporting organization.

When users are informed that their private information has been undermined in a data breach they are often suggested to place a safety freeze on their credit files as a safeguard against scams. The fees charged for placing and disconnecting safety freezes vary state to state, even though usually it costs $5 to $10.

As breach sufferers are not to be accused of the disclosure of their private data, many consider the placing and lifting of safety freezes must not come at a cost. Some states already forbid the charging of fees and in May 2018, President Trump initialed the Economic Development, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Safety Law, which will make placing and lifting safety freezes free of cost from September. H.4806 similarly calls for the revoking of the fees.

The bill also needs businesses to get approval from users before they are allowed to verify an individual’s credit file or get a credit report.