Investigative & Security Professionals for Legislative Action

SAFE Data Act and Phone Hacking Fall-out

20 Jul 2011 9:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Today, Representative Mary Bono Mack [R-CA-45], Subcommittee Chair of House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to mark up her H.R. 2577, the Secure and Fortify Electronic (SAFE) Data Act which will require companies to notify law enforcement of security data breaches without "unreasonable delay" and  notify each person affected by such breaches within 48 hours. Her bill would preempt a patchwork of state data breach security laws, setting one national standard. As written, it is the best one presently being offered from the perspective of investigative and security professionals. It does not reference pretexting, as others do. ISPLA and other like-minded stakeholders are lobbying to ensure that any onerous amendments offered to this bill fail. We also note that our NCISS-PAC colleagues have recently contributed to the re-election campaign of Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, their first and only PAC contribution since forming their PAC last year.

As a follow-up to ISPLA's ongoing comments about the phone hacking scandal in the U.K. a further example of how that scandal has implications here in the U.S. and elsewhere is reflected in a letter written yesterday by Representative Bono to telecommunication industry groups. She posed a number of questions to which she seeks answers. She wrote:

"We have all seen the headlines about the rapidly spreading phone hacking and police bribery scandal in the United Kingdom. According to press reports, a growing number of individuals in the United Kingdom are accused of unscrupulous and potentially illegal activities. Understanding that the events in the United Kingdom have not been connected to any activity within the United States, I nonetheless believe it’s critically important to ask American industries involved in all parts of the communications stream of commerce from device manufacturers to fixed wire and wireless providers whether they are satisfied that sufficient safeguards are in place to prevent similar privacy breaches here in the United States. As a result, I respectfully request an answer to the following questions no later than August 2, 2011.

1. As communications through voice over internet protocol (VOIP), smartphones and other mobile devices become more integrated in our daily lives, do you expect to see a rise in phone hacking here in the United States (involving both personal conversations and voicemails) as criminals search for new ways to steal valuable information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers and Social Security numbers?

2. At present, what safeguards do your member companies employ to ensure that American consumers are adequately protected against the type of phone hacking scandal currently being investigated in the United Kingdom?

3. In the wake of this scandal, do your member companies believe it is necessary to adopt new practices to ensure that consumers in the United States are better protected in the future?

4. Do you believe existing laws and regulations adequately protect consumers in the United States from phone hacking and similar privacy breaches?

5. Approximately how many phone hacking incidents are reported by your member companies in a year? Are the number of incidents growing or declining?

6. As a matter of practice, are phone hacking incidents, or suspected incidents, reported to law enforcement agencies and regulatory agencies?

7. From a technological standpoint, how difficult is it to hack into cell phones or other mobile devices?

8. What steps can consumers take on their own to better protect their personally identifiable information when communicating through either fixed wire or wireless devices?"

ISPLA's belief is that this issue involving the Murdoch media empire has the potential for creating regulatory and legislative ramifications having detrimental consequences for professional investigators. It will adversely affect some of the proactive work ISPLA has been undertaking these past two years in Washington.

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Thank you.

Bruce Hulme

ISPLA Director of Government Affairs

235 N. Pine Street

Lansing, Michigan 48933

Tel: (212) 962 4054


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