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May 24, 2006

Pryce Moves Quickly to Apply Data
Security Standards to Federal Agencies

Washington, DC – In quick response to news that the personal information of America’s veterans has been potentially breached, Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington) today sought to ensure that federal agencies will be covered by data security standards under consideration in the U.S. House.

Today, Pryce, the fourth ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, included in the report on H.R. 4127, the Data Accountability and Trust Act, a provision requiring that all Executive agencies, and specifically the Department of Veterans Affairs, be subject to the data security standards mandated by the bill for any data breach occurring after January 1, 2006.

On Monday, it was announced that a computer containing the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of 26.5 million American veterans was stolen from a VA employee’s home. While it was reasoned that federal agencies would be held to the same security standards as private companies and data brokers under the Act, Pryce’s effort today removes any ambiguity, and extends the bill’s important data protections to veterans, including free credit monitoring and prompt notice requirements.

“More than any other segment of our society, veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation, and have asked for so little in return,” said Pryce. “It is our responsibility to ensure that their personal information and financial security are not sacrificed too. Our veterans deserve more from our government than this violation of trust. While today’s effort may bring some peace of mind to our veterans during a period of tremendous uncertainty, this Congress must not rest until we can assure all Americans that their personal information will remain out of harm’s way.”

Pryce has been a consistent and outspoken leader in the House to implement national data security standards. She is the author of H.R. 3375, the Financial Data Security Act, and lead cosponsor of H.R. 5318, the Cyber-Security Enhancement and Consumer Data Protection Act, H.R.3997, the Financial Data Protection Act, and H.R. 4127, the Data Accountability and Trust Act. The Judiciary Committee’s Cyber-Security Act would make it a crime to fail to report breaches of any government computer or data to the United States Secret Service or Federal Bureau of Investigation, thereby covering the VA data breach.

Currently, Pryce is helping to merge the various the House bills to ensure passage of a comprehensive data security law that protects consumers and provides clear and consistent national standards for businesses.