Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, filed legislation Thursday to require companies to quickly notify consumers of a data breach and impose new criminal penalties for executives who try to deliberately conceal such a breach.
The move comes on the heels of Uber’s recent disclosure that it concealed from drivers and customers a 2016 data breach affecting 57 million accounts.
The legislation would, among other things, require companies to notify consumers of a data breach within 30 days; and make it a crime - punishable by up to five years in prison - for knowingly concealing a breach.
In addition to requiring that companies quickly notify consumers of a data breach and imposing lengthy jail time for those who try to cover them up, Nelson’s legislation directs the Federal Trade Commission to develop strict security standards that businesses would be required to follow to better protect consumers' personal and financial data.
It also provides incentives to businesses that adopt new technologies that make consumer data unusable or unreadable if stolen during a breach.
Nelson introduced similar legislation in the Senate last year.