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Congress Looks at Facebook Breach and Considers Broader Privacy Issues

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Following widely-reported consumer privacy violations that impacted over 85 million Americans, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before House and Senate hearings. The hearings focused on the company’s handling of consumers’ sensitive personal information and the ability of third party entities to access that information without their knowledge. While the attention focused mainly on social media, the conversation surrounding the larger issues of data security and privacy loomed large as Congress continues to grapple with how to boost consumer protections and require higher standards of data security for businesses, like apartment firms, that use, collect, and maintain sensitive consumer data.

Over the coming months, House and Senate Committees are expected to continue looking for ways to reign in privacy violations while continuing to work on a broader data security and breach notification package that has the potential to impact businesses of all scope and size.

In recent days two new proposals were unveiled in the Senate that would require greater consumer input into how and when their data is shared and steps that businesses would need to take in the wake of a data breach. The new proposals are amongst many currently being debated in Congress that NAA/NMHC are closely monitoring for their potential impact on the multifamily industry. NAA/NMHC will continue to work with Congress to create a federal data standard that recognizes the unique nature and needs of the rental housing industry while ensuring the data that our members collect, use and maintain is secure.

NAA/NMHC provide a variety of resources to help secure a firms’ data and bolster its overall cybersecurity posture. Example resources include an industry white paper/guidance document on cybersecurity best practices, valuable cybersecurity tools from the Federal Trade Commission, and a shareable guide to “Social Engineering Red Flags,” that can help educate employees about cyber pitfalls.