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Senate kicks off hearing into new data leak laws

Congress returned on Wednesday to the topic of what new laws, if any, are necessary to respond to security breaches.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, representatives of the Federal Trade Commission, FBI, Secret Service, ChoicePoint, LexisNexis, and Acxiom were scheduled to testify.

This week saw a flurry of legislation anounced as a response to a recent string of high-profile data thefts and other mishaps. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wants to require disclosure of breaches, while another Democrat-backed bill casts a far wider net. (I've placed the text of the second online.)

Look for a federalism theme to bubble up during the hearing. States would like the flexibility to enact laws that are stricter than the Feds'.

Businesses may not necessarily like the idea of new laws to begin with. But if they're going to be slapped with a stack of regulations anyway, they'll probably prefer a national standard instead of 50 different state laws that raises compliance costs.