A new House bill could establish national data security standards for financial services firms.[@@]

Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio, the lead sponsor of the bill, H.R. 3375, says the bill would try to get around traditional limits on the federal government’s role in insurance regulation by requiring state insurance regulators to enforce federal standards for insurance companies.

Sections of the bill would create standards for safeguarding sensitive consumer information, fighting identity theft, and establishing a uniform standard for notifying consumers of data breaches.

One key provision would require institutions to notify consumers about breaches and give affected consumers 6 months of free access to a nationwide credit monitoring service.

Congress has been making data security a priority because of reports this past summer about several major security breaches at large credit card processing companies.

The American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, “takes protection of consumers’ personal information very seriously, and we are working closely with the sponsors of the bill,” says Whit Cornman, an ACLI official. “ACLI supports federal legislation that provides uniform preemptive national standards for notification to individuals whose personal information has been subject to a security breach.”

Any federal security breach notification bill “should be preemptive to the greatest extent possible,” Cornman says.

Links to the text of H.R. 3375 and other information about the bill are on the Web at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.03375: