WASHINGTON (6/16/11)--The Secure and Fortify (SAFE) Data Act, which would establish uniform nationwide standards for data security and data breach notification, was discussed during a Wednesday House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing and trade hearing. Subcommittee chairwoman Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) introduced a discussion draft of the legislation earlier this week. The bill would require entities that are impacted by a security breach to alert the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and consumers of the issue. This alert would need to be provided within 48 hours after the issue has been dealt with and the scope of the breach has been determined. The FTC could impose civil penalties against entities that do not comply with this timeline. In opening statements delivered on Wednesday, Bono Mack said that electronic commerce “is a vital and growing part” of the U.S. economy, and said that Congress “should take steps to embrace and protect it,” starting with “robust cyber security.” The subcommittee chairwoman added that the legislation builds on a bill that passed the House in 2009, but was never taken up by the Senate. The Credit Union National Association at that time supported allowing financial institutions to charge retailers for any costs incurred by the financial institution that is forced to notify its accountholders following a data breach, and encouraged legislators to allow financial institutions to disclose the source of the breach or loss to affected accountholders. Doing so would allow credit unions and other financial institutions to inform affected individuals while continuing to protect their own reputations. For more on the hearing, use the resource link.