BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Sept. 25 that her office has updated legislation to better protect consumers from data breaches like the recent one at Equifax.

Healey’s bill, cosponsored by state Sen. Barbara L’Italien and state Rep. Jennifer Benson, has been introduced into the Massachusetts Senate.

“For too long protecting consumers has been an afterthought for Equifax and other credit reporting agencies,” Healey said. “This bill will give Massachusetts residents control over their personal data and help fix a system that needed reform long before the Equifax breach. I am proud to join with Sen. L’Italien and Rep. Benson as Massachusetts leads the charge for our country’s consumers.”

The new legislation would force companies to receive written consent to use a consumer’s credit report. Additionally, the bill would let consumers place and lift credit freezes on their file whenever they deem it necessary. Credit reporting agencies also will need to provide extra access to free credit reports and provide five years of free credit monitoring for consumers impacted by breaches. The bill also will require that all agencies better encrypt personal information from credit reports.

“I am proud to stand today in collaboration with the attorney general and Rep. Jen Benson to discuss enhanced consumer protections for all residents of our commonwealth,” L’Italien said. “With the Equifax breach we learned how easy it is for our personal information to be compromised, and the urgency of ensuring additional protection for consumers and our credit and financial information.”

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