Security

Sen. Elizabeth Warren targets 'Equifax exploitation'

Two bills introduced by the Democratic senator from Massachusetts aim to make credit hacks, like the breach of Equifax, less harmful to consumers.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has introduced two new bills in response to the massive Equifax hack.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Two US Senate bills aim to take the sting out of hacks like the massive breach of Equifax.

Introduced by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the bills take aim at Equifax and at employers who run credit checks on prospective hires. One bill would require Equifax and its competitors to let consumers freeze their credit free of charge, and another would ban employers from using credit reports to make decisions on whom to hire.

Warren introduced the bills in response to the massive hack of consumer information from Equifax, first reported last week. In the attack, hackers stole data on as many as 143 million people, including Social Security numbers and other personal details that could lead to identity theft.

Widespread outrage followed news of the hack, with consumer advocates criticizing Equifax for exposing the consumer data and for providing clumsy customer service after its announcement of the attack. Warren took to Twitter on Friday to note she was outraged too and that the bills are her response. 

Warren introduced the credit freeze fees bill -- bluntly called the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation Act -- on Friday. "The idea behind our bill is simple," Warren wrote on Twitter. "Equifax doesn't pay you when they sell your data. You shouldn't have to pay them to stop selling it." The senator first introduced the employment bill in 2013 and reintroduced it Thursday.

Equifax and rivals Experian and Transunion didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the bills.

Neither piece of legislation would require credit reporting agencies to better secure consumer information, something cybersecurity experts have called for. Instead, they tackle two of the harmful results that can come from identity theft: costly credit freezing fees and diminished job prospects.

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