Rep. Bono Mack Looks to Crack Down on Companies Like Sony, Citibank

Bill goes after those that fail to report security breaches in timely manner

Hoping to protect consumers from hacking and potential identity theft, as in the recent high profile examples with Sony's Playstation and Citibank, Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., late Monday unveiled draft legislation to tighten security standards and compel companies to notify consumers within 48 hours of breaches.

Sony, which was forced to shut down its Playstation network in April, was criticized by Bono Mack in a hearing earlier this month for notifying customers through a blog post. More than 100 million accounts were affected. Citibank didn't tell its customers about its data breach until weeks after it occurred. 

The bill, the Secure and Fortify Data Act (SAFE Data Act) will be the subject of a hearing scheduled for Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, which Bono Mack chairs.

Bono Mack's bill is based on legislation that was passed by the House in 2009, but not acted on in the Senate. The bill requires companies notify the Federal Trade Commission and consumers within 48 hours of a breach and gives the FTC the authority to penalize companies that don't comply.

"You shouldn't have to cross your fingers and whisper a prayer when you type in a credit card number on your computer and hit 'enter,'" said Bono Mack, who has held three hearings on the issue.