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Burgess works on cybersecurity bill

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By Jenna Duncan

Congressman gathers feedback on issues at local panel discussion

While U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess is working on a bill in Washington about how to handle data breaches, he made sure to stop in Denton to get feedback on cybersecurity.

In a panel discussion Burgess organized at the University of North Texas Discovery Park, panelists talked about how users and businesses can protect data, and what role the government could play in helping protect data and limit security breaches.

“I wanted to take an opportunity to hear from people who are working in the research area and the private sector and pull everyone together in a room for the morning and hear what the state of the industry is, and where they thought we might do things to improve it,” said Burgess, R-Lewisville.

Speakers included researcher and professor Ram Dantu, who directs the university’s Center for Information and Computer Security; Stephen Bohanon, founder of Alkami Technology; and David Wagner, president of Entrust Datacard.

Wagner said he’s been in talks with legislators for about 10 years trying to get data security legislation.

“I do think we are closer than ever to getting a bill passed,” he said. “Ten years can seem like a long time, but I do believe from meeting with legislators on the Hill, in both houses and both parties, that there is a real desire to get this done.”

Wagner has worked with Burgess and others on the Data Security and Breach Notification Act, a House bill that is expected to make it to the congressional floor this fall to put new safeguards in place.

The bill would require entities that collect personal information to report when they have a breach that would result in identify theft or financial harm.

All people affected by the risk would have to be contacted, and if it impacts more than 10,000 people, the Federal Trade Commission, the Secret Service or FBI and consumer reporting agencies would have to be informed.

“The overall goal is to get to that signing ceremony and get to the point where we have a bill that actually will ensure some modicum of a national data standard and security,” Burgess said.


JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.