COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133
Senator Joan B. Lovely
2nd Essex District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 27, 2018
SENATE PASSES CREDIT PROTECTION BILL TO PROTECT CONSUMERS IN THE WAKE OF EQUIFAX BREACH
Bill creates stronger protections against identity theft and data breaches for all consumers in the Commonwealth
BOSTON — The Massachusetts State Senate voted on Thursday to pass a bill designed to protect the personal information of consumers in the case of data breaches, like the one seen at Equifax, and provide free credit freezes for all consumers.
The bill, S.2455, An Act relative to consumer protection from security breaches, was sponsored by State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), senate chair of the consumer protection committee, and crafted in collaboration with Representative Jennifer Benson (the House sponsor of the bill), Attorney General Maura Healey, the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG), and AARP Massachusetts.
The bill helps all consumers protect their sensitive information before, during, and after a security breach in several ways: providing for free credit freezes for all consumers and creating an online “one stop shop” portal so that consumers can freeze & unfreeze their credit at all 3 main bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) in one place; providing 5 years of free credit monitoring for consumers whose information was part of a credit reporting agency data breach, and empowering consumers to know when and why their consumer reports are being pulled by requiring that any company attempting to pull a consumer’s report must first obtain consent.
“I was pleased to support this bill which will protect consumers in the wake of the Equifax breach,” stated Senator Joan B. Lovely. “The bill ensures stronger protections against identity theft and data breaches and also provides free credit freezes and credit monitoring for consumers. I am thankful for the work and leadership of Senator Barbara L’Italien on this issue.”
The legislation allows increased oversight from Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, which recently filed a lawsuit against Equifax. The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation will create a process requiring companies to certify that they maintain a consumer information security program as required by existing Massachusetts law.
Representative Benson’s similar legislation has already passed in the House.