There is no shortage of news stories dealing with cybercrime and data breaches. From Citigroup admitting that computer hackers breached the bank’s network and accessed the data of about 200,000 bank card holders in North America, to the huge data breach at Sony and its Playstation Network, it’s all over the news. The latest incident: in late July The Washington Post alerted job seekers who use its employment pages of a data breach that compromised up to 1.27 million accounts. The publisher wrote on its website that the “Jobs” section was attacked by an “unauthorized third party” once on June 27 and once on June 28. The attackers obtained user IDs and e-mail addresses, but apparently did not get passwords or other personal information.

If some lawmakers have their way, companies would have to pay when a data breach occurs.

The Personal Data Privacy and Security Act was introduced to Congress in 2005, but never became law. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) recently reintroduced the legislation that would require American businesses that collect and store consumers’ sensitive personal information to safeguard that information from cyber threats.

If it’s passed, those who are found to have willfully or intentionally concealed security breaches involving personal data can face criminal penalties.

Even more legislation – the Do-Not-Track Online Act, introduced in May, and the Data Security and Breach Notification Act, introduced on June 15 – call for new online privacy protections and for legislation that would require companies to put security monitoring tools on their networks. Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said, “I want ordinary consumers to know what’s being done with their personal information, and I want to give them the power to do something about that.”

What’s your take on data breaches, security’s role and this type of legislation? Email me at