President Barack Obama speaks at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offices at the Constitution Center in Washington, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, about his plan to improve confidence in technology by tackling identify theft and improving consumer and student privacy. The president wants Congress to pass legislation requiring companies to inform customers within 30 days if their data has been hacked, a move that follows high-profile breaches at retailers including Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
During a speech at the Federal Trade Commission Jan. 12, President Obama proposed legislation to establish a national standard that will require U.S. companies to notify customers that their personal information may have been breached within 30 days of discovery.
Dubbed the “Personal Data Notification and Protection Act,” the bill would outline a set of rules and regulations on how companies should handle their customers’ information. The legislation would also prohibit international trade of stolen personal identity information, according to CNET news.
The initiative is one of several other data protection ideas that Obama plans to present to Congress in his State of the Union address Jan. 20.
Obama also wants Congress to approve a proposed law that would protect the information collected from students at school called the “Student Data Privacy Act.” The act would prohibit technology companies from commercializing the information collected in schools as teachers adopt online learning tools such as tablets, and other Internet-connected teaching software.
The president’s announcement comes in the wake of the high-profile cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and data breaches at major retail giants like Target and Home Depot. According to the Los Angeles Times, the president cited these breaches as examples of the “enormous vulnerabilities” of the nation and the economy to cyber-attacks.
“If we’re going to be connected, then we need to be protected,” Obama said in his speech to FTC employees. “As Americans, we shouldn’t have to forfeit our basic privacy when we go online to do our business.”
Obama also announced that JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., and other financial firms have voluntarily agreed to join forces in safeguarding their debit and credit card customers from identity theft by making credit scores available for free.