Massachusetts amends legislation protecting consumers from security breaches
On January 10, the Massachusetts Governor signed HB 4806, following the House and Senate’s adoption of amendments to the bill. The bill, which is effective April 10, amends current law related to security breaches and the protection of consumer financial and credit information. Among other provisions, the amendments to the current law:
- Prohibit users from requesting or obtaining the consumer credit report of a consumer unless the user obtains the consumer’s prior written, verbal, or electronic consent, and discloses the user's reason for accessing the consumer report to the consumer prior to obtaining consent.
- Require every consumer reporting agency to disclose to consumers, when properly identified, (i) the nature, contents, and substance of all information on file (except medical information) at the time of the request; (ii) the sources of all credit information; and (iii) “the recipients of any consumer report on the consumer which it has furnished for employment purposes within the 2-year period preceding the request, and for any other purpose within the 6-month period preceding the request.”
- State that a consumer reporting agency may not charge a fee to any consumer for placing, lifting, or removing a security freeze from a consumer report.
- Specify that a consumer reporting agency may not “knowingly offer a paid product to prevent unauthorized access or restrict access to a consumer's credit.”
- Require persons who experience a security breach to report specific information to the state Attorney General, as well as certify that their credit monitoring services are in compliance.
- State that consumers shall receive notice provisions in the event of a breach of security, including the right to obtain police reports, steps for requesting a security freeze, and various mitigation services.
- Require persons who experience a breach that compromises social security numbers to provide at least 18 months of free credit monitoring for affected individuals.