President's proposals would protect hack victims and student data

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address is going to include at least two proposals that will affect how companies handle your data. One, the Personal Data Notification and Protection Act, would require that firms tell their customers about data breaches within 30 days after discovering that hackers got in. The varying state data laws that exist today both leave people vulnerable and create headaches for businesses, the president argues. The speech will also include a voluntary deal that makes it easier to get your credit score and find out if a data thief wrecked your financial reputation.

The second measure, the Student Data Privacy Act, would prevent companies from exploiting the data they collect though apps and services for schools. There aren't many details surrounding this proposal yet, but there would be another voluntary pact that would protect your energy grid info.

The would-be laws represent potentially huge milestones -- they'd create a national baseline for data security that could eliminate gaps in states with little to no protection. However, there's a concern at the Center for Democracy and Technology and other privacy-minded advocacy groups that the proposals may not live up to the more stringent laws in some states, like California. These critics don't want federal policy to be "watered down" and leave some Americans more vulnerable than they were under state-only rules. Hopefully we'll know more after the president finishes delivering the State of the Union on the 20th.

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