Mikulski to Offer Amendments to FSGG Bill to Strengthen Cybersecurity & Protect Victims of Data Breaches
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced she will offer two new amendments to improve federal cybersecurity and expand protections for victims of recent data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The amendments will be offered during the full committee markup of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.
“OPM’s latest data breaches compromised the personal data of at least 22 million men and women working in government, serving in the military or working as contractors. They are federal employees, retirees, their families and applicants for jobs that require background checks,” Senator Mikulski said. “Very sensitive information has been stolen – social security numbers, financial data, fingerprints, mental health status and work histories. It’s as outrageous and unacceptable as it is devastating. And it’s permanent. Their vulnerability will not dissipate over time.”
The first amendment Senator Mikulski plans to introduce will provide an additional $37 million to accelerate the completion of scheduled improvements to network systems and IT infrastructure one year ahead of schedule.
“OPM’s retirement services and background investigation databases contain the most sensitive data OPM holds,” Senator Mikulski said. “Securing these systems must be done now. We can’t wait for the next budget cycle. This is a crisis and must be treated like a crisis.”
Senator Mikulski’s second amendment will provide federal employees whose personal information may have been compromised in the federal data breaches with greater protection. It is based on the legislation Senator Mikulski introduced with U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.). It provides for not less than 10 years of credit-monitoring services and $5 million in liability protection for related damages.
“The American people are deeply disappointed by the response they’ve seen so far, and so am I,” Senator Mikulski said. “These breaches erode confidence going forward that the federal government will be able to protect federal employees whose personal data has been stolen. And the breaches have hit Maryland harder than other states. We’re home to 20 major federal agencies and more than 300,000 federal employees and retirees. This amendment is an important step in responding to the breaches by doing more to protect the victims. I will not rest until we get the best protection possible for every person affected and our cyber shields are up and effective.”
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