[JURIST] US Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) [official websites] introduced a bill [press release] Tuesday entitled the "Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2007" designed to protect the personal information of American consumers. The legislation resembles a bill [text] Leahy co-sponsored with then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [JURIST news archive] in 2005, which was not enacted in the last Congress. Among its provisions, the new legislation would increase criminal penalties for identity theft and require institutions that maintain personal data to disclose when they suffer a breach affecting personal security information. AP has more.
In December Leahy outlined an ambitious agenda [JURIST report] for his tenure as incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website], highlighting increased oversight of the FBI and the Department of Justice, more effective protection of Americans' privacy rights in the face of security-driven government data collection and data-mining, support for the independence of the judiciary, and restoration of fundamental human rights protections he said had been most recently eroded in the Military Commissions Act [JURIST news archive].