Massachusetts residents would be able to freeze their credit reports for free and their credit information could not be shared without their consent, under a bill that's now backed by Attorney General Maura Healey. The bill is scheduled for a legislative hearing Tuesday.
The bill, filed by Sen. Barbara L'Italien and Rep. Jennifer Benson, would also require the encryption of credit report data and allow consumers to receive additional copies of their credit reports after a data breach.
At a State House press conference Monday with Healey, L'Italien said she and Benson originally filed a version of their bill in January, in response to data breaches at Target and other resources. After the credit reporting agency Equifax this month announced a breach that potentially affected the information of 143 million people (including three million Massachusetts residents), the lawmakers decided to add on more protections, L'Italien said.
Healey, who is suing Equifax over the breach, said there must be a culture change around the protection of private information.
"This should be a lesson to every financial institution out there with access to sensitive personal data: If you can't keep it safe, you can't have it," she said.