On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., unveiled a proposal to help small businesses that have their data breached.

Rubio teamed up with U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., to unveil the “Small Business Credit Protection Act” which would make the credit bureaus let small businesses know within 30 days of a data breach.

“The bill would also prohibit credit bureaus from charging small businesses for a credit report within 180 days following a breach,” Rubio’s office noted. “In response to the Equifax data breach, Congress amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act to enhance some federal credit protections for ‘consumers.’ However, business credit is excluded from the statutory definition of ‘consumers’ and thus, while small business’ nonpublic information was subject to the breach, the changes did not apply to those using business credit.”

Rubio offered his rationale for introducing the legislation.

“The federal government must uphold the trust Americans need to fully participate in our economy. By ensuring that small businesses receive the protections they need in cases of a security breach, the Small Business Credit Protection Act will do just that,” Rubio said. “I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this bill so that we can continue to protect America’s small businesses – the cornerstone of our economy.”

“Credit bureaus need to be held responsible for their gross negligence and data mismanagement,” said Kennedy, who sits on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee. “We’ve already taken important steps to protect consumers, but small businesses’ credit data were also compromised, and they deserve protection as well. It’s been just over a year since the Equifax breach, but consumers and mom and pop small businesses are counting on us to keep the pedal to the floor and guard their data privacy.”

The legislation won the applause of Patrick La Pine, the president/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates.

“We truly appreciate Senator Rubio’s efforts to protect private information for small businesses,” said La Pine. “Much like consumer data, small businesses are vulnerable to increasing threats of stolen data and this proactive approach is good for the marketplace and the consumers who use it. On behalf of our members, the Florida Credit Union Association thanks Sen. Rubio and looks forward to working with him on this common sense approach.”

 

Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.

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