July 29, 2015

Kilmer, Rigell Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Americans Exposed to OPM Data Breaches

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Scott Rigell (VA-02) introduced a bill to aid Americans impacted by hacking attacks on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The legislation would extend and bolster identity theft protection for those who may have been exposed to data breaches.

Last year on two separate occasions hackers accessed databases of personal information overseen by OPM. Recently, investigators announced that the breaches impacted more than 22 million people – including family and friends of current and former government employees. OPM also reported that records taken from the breaches include: Social Security numbers, residency and educational history, employment history, background checks, and other information.

According to news reports, the attack originated when hackers went into the system of a government contractor, KeyPoint Government Solutions, and took an employee’s credentials. The attackers were able to spend a year looking through OPM databases. 

“We need to protect our workers whose personal info has fallen into the wrong hands,” said Representative Kilmer. “It’s unacceptable that outside hackers can so easily blow holes in America’s cyber defenses and snatch the records of our federal workers. Our legislation would let folks know that if there is an attempt to hijack their identity or mess with their credit they will be covered.”  

“Everybody deserves to have peace of mind and assurance that their personal information is secure,” said Congressman Rigell. “If signed into law, this bill would hold the federal government accountable to the American people and provide clarity and protection for those who may have been exposed in the OPM data breach. This is not a partisan issue. It’s about requiring, and indeed demanding, accountability from every aspect of the federal government.”

Kilmer and Rigell’s legislation would grant comprehensive and complimentary identity protection coverage for ten years to affected individuals and ensure that individuals with stolen records would not be disqualified from security clearances based on damage to their credit scores caused by the breach. A task force would also be established to examine the most effective ways to minimize the damage the breaches could do.