Dubbed the Data Security & Breach Notification Act, the proposed law seeks to implement nationwide breach notification standards and replace the confusing patchwork of state laws currently in place.
The Act, which is sponsored by Democrat senators Bill Nelson of Florida, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, would see those companies which “intentionally and wilfully” conceal a data breach to be prosecuted in the courts, with the threat of huge fines and up to five years in jail hanging over them.
It has been reported that the Uber hacking scandal, which saw the company pay a ransom to criminals rather than admit to a huge data breach, has served as the catalyst for the Bill to be brought forward.
In a statement, Senator Nelson said: "We need a strong federal law in place to hold companies truly accountable for failing to safeguard data or inform consumers when that information has been stolen by hackers.
"Congress can either take action now to pass this long overdue Bill or continue to kowtow to special interests who stand in the way of this common sense proposal. When it comes to doing what’s best for consumers, the choice is clear.”