National Consumer News

Companies don’t have to inform consumers when they’re hacked, but lawmakers might change that


Lawmakers are reviewing information and legislation that would require companies to notify their customers when their personal information is accessed by a data breach, according to the Washington News Bureau report.

After Yahoo announced more than 500 million accounts were hacked, the government is now pushing to set a national standard for all companies to notify consumers when there’s been a data breach. However, some privacy and consumer advocates feel that legislation will not solve the major issue.

Jim Harper, senior fellow at Cato Institute, argues that it may not be best for companies to notify consumers on every hack.

“You want to notify people when they can do something to protect themselves,” Harper said.  “When data is breached, notifying may just concern (consumers) because they can’t do anything about it.”

Harper believes the main goal should be holding companies responsible in making sure consumers’ information is safe.

“It’s not a matter of federal regulation but common law litigation,” he said. “Nothing the government can do now can fix this these problems. They’re too complex for a single standard especially from the federal government.”

Another consumer advocate, ED Mierzwinski, says consumers need to be responsible and control their digital security, which includes passwords by the use of number, letters and symbols, according to the Washington News Bureau report.

Mierzwinski also says the legislation could ultimately protect the companies instead of the consumers that are victimized and that state laws already protect consumers. Congress is taking action to pass legislation that may weaken those consumer state laws already enforced, according to Washington News Bureau report.

“The strongest state laws say if ‘you lose your information, tell your customers,'” Mierzwinski said. “The company that lost your info wants the right to decide when it’s been lost and we disagree with that.”

Photo by Lawrence Jackson/

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