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Deal Struck To Protest Consumers Hurt By Data Breaches

A compromise bill filed Tuesday by a House-Senate conference committee would afford Massachusetts residents a year and a half of free credit monitoring services if their personal data and Social Security number are compromised by a data security breach.

The panel, chaired by Rep. Tackey Chan and Sen. Barbara L'Italien, filed its report with the House clerk's office around 5:30 p.m. after all six of its members had signed off. The bill could surface for a vote on Wednesday.

Competing data security bills were sent to conference committee on May 3 after the legislation gained momentum following the high-profile data breach at the credit reporting agency Equifax.

The compromise bill (H 4806) calls for consumers to be able to freeze their credit for free, in keeping with a new federal law signed by President Trump in late May that will make it free to place and lift security freezes starting in September.

The House in its bill had backed a year of free credit monitoring after a breach, while the Senate had called for two years for a standard breach and five years if the breach is at one of the three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

The conference committee's bill stakes out a middle ground, requiring 18 months of free credit monitoring from a third-party for a standard breach and 42 months for a credit-agency breach.

The bill also requires companies to obtain consent from consumers to use or seek a credit report.

Reps. Daniel Hunt and Randy Hunt and Sens. John Keenan and Ryan Fattman were the other members of the conference committee.

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