Assemblyman Buchwald’s Equifax Data Breach Bill Advances in Albany

Legislation would save New Yorkers millions
May 14, 2018

State Assemblyman David Buchwald’s bill to save New Yorkers millions of dollars after credit bureau data breaches, like the one at Equifax, has won the support of the Assembly’s Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee. Over 8 million New Yorkers had their Social Security numbers and personal information taken in the massive Equifax data breach last year. They were advised to freeze their credit reports at Equifax and also at the other major credit reporting agencies, Experian and TransUnion. While initial credit freezes are free in New York, fees are charged for all subsequent credit freezes and unfreezes.

Assemblyman Buchwald’s bill (A.8672A) allows consumers to not only establish credit freezes without charge but also lift them permanently or temporarily without incurring any fees for a period of three years after a data breach occurs at a credit bureau.

Assemblyman Buchwald’s legislation won the unanimous, bipartisan support of the Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee as the date approaches when Equifax plans to again start charging for credit freezes this upcoming July. That service has been provided for free since the company’s data breach was announced last summer.

According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, U.S. consumers will pay over $4 billion in freeze fees due to the Equifax data breach. The organization estimates New Yorkers will pay over $100 million.

“Consumers should not bear the cost of Equifax’s lax security or anytime a credit bureau doesn’t protect individual sensitive data,” said State Assemblyman David Buchwald. "Credit bureaus should not be allowed to profit from having exposed consumers to identity theft. I think it is wholly appropriate to require Equifax and any credit bureau experiencing a data breach to pay for credit freezes and unfreezes.”

In the State Senate the bill is sponsored by Senator Rich Funke (R,C,I-Fairport).