US Senator Introduces Bill and Launches New Investigation into Equifax Breach

US Senator Introduces Bill and Launches New Investigation into Equifax Breach

The new bill, which is being dubbed ‘The Freedom from Equifax Exploitation (FREE) Act’, aims to protect consumers during a data breach that may result in their data being compromised.  The bill suggests amending the ‘Fair Credit Reporting Act to enhance fraud alert procedures and provide free access to credit freezes, and for other purposes’.

Warren has also pushed for further investigation into the company’s actions and has sent letters to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), asking for information related directly to the leak and the ways in which it was handled.  She has also written to the Government Accountability Office to request a thorough investigation into consumer data security. Warren stated she was, “troubled by this attack – described as ‘one of the largest risks to personally sensitive information in recent years’, and by the fact that it represents the third recent instance of a data breach of Equifax or its subsidiaries that has endangered American’s personal information”.

The bill is another blow to Equifax who are still reeling from one of the largest data breaches in US history, resulting in 143 million people being left with un-protected data and are already under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission following pressure from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer last week.

“It’s one of the most egregious examples of corporate malfeasances since Enron,” Schumer said, adding that the data breach and the treatment of Equifax customers was “disgusting”.

Equifax shares have plummeted since the data breach was announced, falling a further 2.4% last Thursday bringing the overall drop to 32%.  Now it seems they may have to contend with a full-blown investigation from an agency they have tangled with in the past.  In 2012 the company settled with the FTC regarding allegations that it had improperly sold consumers data who were behind on mortgage payments.

In a rare move, the FTC spokesman Peter Kaplan released an e-mail statement confirming the ongoing investigation, stating: “In light of the intense public interest and the potential impact of this matter, I can confirm that FTC staff is investigating the Equifax data breach”.

With both Senators backing these investigations and Schumer publicly stating that if Equifax do not take steps to increase protection for customers, the CEO and board may have no option but to resign. All in all, the company faces a turbulent time ahead.