What to do about Equifax? Carr, Loudermilk take different routes

[private]The massive breach in Equifax’s data banks that affected more than 140 million consumers has caused widely differing reactions among two of Georgia’s politicians.

Attorney General Chris Carr said he is “taking an active role” in the case by working with attorneys general from other states on an investigation that could possibly lead to legal action against the credit reporting firm.

“Our primary responsibility is to protect the consumers of Georgia, millions of whom, who through no fault of their own, have had their personal information compromised,” Carr said.

“As part of our duty to protect the interests of the people of Georgia, we are committed to determining exactly what happened and who are the cyber criminals targeting our companies and our personal data,” Carr said. “We must keep their needs at the forefront and do all we can to assist them, and we must commit to learning the facts – which is why we joined this effort.”

U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville), on the other hand, is trying to get Congress to pass a bill that would protect Equifax against class action lawsuits that might be filed against it.

Loudermilk’s measure, H.R. 2359, would eliminate punitive damages in these lawsuits and would impose an arbitrary $500,000 limit on statutory and actual damages in class actions.

Consumer activists have blasted Loudermilk’s legislation.

“Instead of running to Congress to seek a ‘get out of jail free’ card to avoid accountability for its reckless handling of consumers’ personal and financial information, Equifax and its counterparts in the credit reporting industry should focus on protecting information from identity thieves,” said Christine Hines, legislative director at National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA).

Loudermilk has lashed out at critics of his bill, posting a statement on his congressional website:

“Reports that this bill would grant any immunity to Equifax for liability in this data breach are completely false. The bill does not give any immunity from prosecution or civil lawsuits for wrongdoing to any business. Furthermore, data breaches are governed by state laws, not the FCRA, so this bill would not apply to Equifax in this case at all with respect to the 143 million people whose personally identifiable information was compromised.”

However, Loudermilk’s website statement drew some unfriendly comments from constituents.

“Looks like Loudermilk accepted donations from Equifax,” said Seth Leonard of Marietta.

“In this instance it seems that your constituents (of which I am one) need more protections,” said Al Heaton. “Rather than protecting businesses you need to protect the consumers.”

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Barry Loudermilk , Chris Carr , Equifax data breach