Langevin Unveils Package of Consumer Protection Legislation

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, was joined today by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Colonel Steven O’Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police at a press conference where he announced the introduction of three bills aimed at protecting consumers from identity theft and cyber criminals.

“Americans are increasingly reliant on technology and are quick to trust online networks with personal financial data and private information, including health care records. However, the great economic efficiencies tied to innovative use of these data come with risks, and the public and private sectors must commit to doing everything possible to mitigate those risks and protect consumer information,” Langevin said. “Securing our networks and closing the aperture of vulnerability is a complex challenge that needs to be tackled from many directions.”

The Personal Data Notification and Protection Act of 2015 requires that companies notify affected individuals within 30 days of the discovery of a breach of sensitive personal information. The Protect Children from Theft Act aims to safeguard children from becoming victims of identity theft by giving parents and guardians the ability to create a protected, frozen credit file for their children. The Cybercrime Anti-Resale Deterrent Extraterritoriality Revision (CARDER) Act would make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute the criminals who trade in stolen credit cards and simultaneously increase the chances of identifying and arresting the hackers responsible for the initial theft.

“The insidious effects of cyber espionage, commercial hacks and the theft of intellectual property are already causing great harm to our nation’s competitiveness and online consumer safety,” Langevin continued. “I believe this package of legislation will be a major step forward in combatting cyber threats, improving consumer confidence and building the foundation for a more secure America.”

“Cyber attacks threaten everything from our personal privacy to our national security, and we must take action,” said Whitehouse. “Congressman Langevin recognizes how serious this is for Rhode Island businesses and consumers, and no one has fought harder for improvements to our cybersecurity. These bills are just the latest example of his commitment to protecting our country from cyber attacks, and I thank him for his work.”

“Not too many years ago, identity theft was primarily a result of someone going through your trash and gaining access to your personal information to open a credit card in your name. Today, identity theft can happen at every turn: it can happen when we shop online, it can happen when we shop at retail locations, it can happen when we file our taxes online. We need stronger laws to protect the consumer, and we need to give law enforcement the right tools to be able to go after these cyber criminals. The legislation proposed by Congressman Langevin will go a long way to do just that,” said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, who serves as chair of the National Association of Attorneys General Consumer Protection Committee.

“One of the pieces of legislation being introduced by Congressman Langevin addresses children. On a national level, identity theft of children is especially difficult to detect. ‘The Protect Children from Theft Act’ would help protect our most vulnerable citizens from becoming victims of identity theft,” said Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.