The Obama Administration and Congress again will consider the related issues of consumer privacy, data breach and cybersecurity in 2013. While it’s unlikely the efforts would create new obligations specific to the apartment industry, national standards could emerge that would affect all businesses, including apartment firms.
Most notably, Congress may soon consider legislation to create a national data breach standard that would eliminate the patchwork of state laws that currently exists. At present, 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place to govern how a business must protect consumers’ personal information, as well as the process for notification in the event of a data breach. This is important to apartment firms because they collect personal information, such as name, address, social security number and other unique identifiers, during the leasing and employment application processes. NMHC/NAA support reasonable efforts to safeguard consumers’ personal information but remain cautious of overly burdensome obligations on business owners.
In addition, Congress is expected to act on cybersecurity legislation. In the House, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) reintroduced the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act” (H.R. 624), which would improve voluntary information-sharing system between private-sector owners/operators of critical infrastructure and the government. The Senate is expected to introduce similar legislation.
This action follows the Administration’s recent issuance of a related executive order that aims to improve the cybersecurity of the nation’s critical infrastructure, which includes vital networks and systems such as nuclear power plants, water supply systems and the banking sector, through voluntary standards and a public-private collaboration for voluntary information sharing regarding cyber-threats.
- Data Compliance and Connectivity Concerns Mount
- National Multifamily Housing Council Issues Data Privacy and Protection White Paper
- Data Privacy and Protection: Practical Considerations for Apartment Firms - White Paper
- Congress Presses Forward on Consumer Data Privacy
- Data Security Letter to Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs