U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced the Freedom from Equifax Exploitation (FREE) Act on Friday with the goal of giving control of credit and personal information back to consumers.
Both were prompted by news of the Equifax hack announced last week, which compromised the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans.
“This is about making sure companies like Equifax do right by the consumer, by restoring trust, security, and privacy to millions of Americans,” Schatz said in a press release. “You would think that, when it comes to cybersecurity, companies would put people over profit, but as we’ve seen with Equifax, that is not always the case. Congress must act to protect consumer privacy, along with people’s ability to get a loan, to buy a car or even get a new job. There’s a lot at stake here.”
Over the past week, Schatz has also directed tweets at Equifax, asking the company why senior executives liquidated their stock after finding out about the breach.
The FREE Act would create a federal requirement for credit reporting agencies to freeze or unfreeze access to credit files at a consumers’ request at no cost. It would also prevent credit reporting agencies from profiting off of consumers’ information during a freeze and refund any fees charged for credit freezes in the wake of the Equifax data breach.