New bill would protect OPM hack victims for life

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The senators who represent the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area have submitted a bill that would provide lifetime identity theft protection for anyone affected by data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management.

Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, along with Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, introduced the ‘Reducing the Effects of the Cyberattack on OPM Victims Emergency Response Act of 2015,’ or RECOVER Act, Thursday after OPM announced that more than 22 million current and former federal employees had their personal information compromised.

The bill offers lifetime identity-theft monitoring for anyone impacted by the breach, as well as no less than $5 million in insurance for anyone who finds their identity has been stolen using information taken from OPM.

These measure go beyond what OPM has promised victims: The agency announced Thursday it would work with the Defense Department to offer free full credit and identity monitoring for three years to anyone affected by the breaches.

In a joint press release Thursday, the four Democratic senators called OPM’s offering ‘severely lacking in the duration and extent of coverage for those who had their most sensitive information stolen off the government system.’

Mikulski called the bill a ‘far more robust action plan’ for federal workers, who have ‘eroding confidence’ that OPM will be able to offer any protection given the nature of the hacks.

‘The announcement that OPM’s data breach compromised the personal data of 21.5 million federal employees, retirees and their families is as outrageous and unacceptable as it is devastating,’ Mikulski said in a release.

‘The RECOVER Act allows us to provide these individuals with reasonable protections and insurance coverage in the event of identity theft,’ Warner said. ‘I cannot overstate the national security implications of this breach, or the very real concerns of thousands of Virginians who have since learned that their personal information was put at risk.’

The legislation has already earned the support of a number of associations and unions that protect federal workers, including the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, and the National Treasury Employees Union. Both groups have filed lawsuits against OPM in the wake of the breaches.

Read the full bill on Congress.gov.

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