CFC Letter to Governor: Sign SB 24 (Data Breach Notification)

by Richard Holober, Executive Director, Consumer Federation of California

August 22, 2011

Honorable Jerry Brown
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: SB 24 (Simitian) ‘ Request for Signature

Dear Governor Brown:

The Consumer Federation of California urges you to sign into law SB 24 (Simitian).

SB 24 would amend California’s security breach notification law stating that any public agency, person or business required to issue a security breach notification to more than 500 residents must submit the notification electronically to the Attorney General. 

This measure also requires that the notification to the affected consumer be written in plain language and include contact information regarding the breach, the types of information breached, and the date, estimated date, or date range of the breach.  If a social security number, driver’s license number or California identification card number is exposed, the notice would also include the toll-free telephone numbers and addresses of the major credit reporting agencies.

California’s current security breach notification law does not require public agencies, businesses, or persons subject to that law to provide any standard set of information about the breach to consumers. As a result, security breach notification letters often lack important information – such as the time of the breach or type of information that was breached – or are confusing to consumers. 

This leaves consumers uncertain about how to respond to the breach or protect themselves from identity theft. By including contact information for credit reporting agencies, the legislation helps consumers monitor for potential identity theft, and take concrete steps ‘ such as placing a security freeze on credit reports ‘ that stop identity theft from occurring.

SB 24’s common sense changes to the current security breach notification statutes will enhance consumer knowledge about security breaches, and help equip Californians to limit or prevent the harm caused by identity theft. We urge you to sign SB 24.


Richard Holober
Executive Director