Rep. Black: Administration Must Inform Citizens About ACA Site Hacks

Image: Rep. Black: Administration Must Inform Citizens About ACA Site Hacks

Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 02:32 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Security concerns are a major issue for HealthCare.gov, and the government should be obligated to notify people if their information has been compromised in the same way the private sector is legally required to do so, says Rep. Diane Black.

In a column for Forbes magazine, the Tennessee Republican and member of the House Budget and Ways and Means Committees, says the website is highly vulnerable to security breaches which could compromise personal information and lead to cyber attacks and identity theft, and yet the government has shirked its responsibility to notify consumers when breaches have occurred.

"The dangerous reality is that when it comes to protecting Americans' personal information from data breaches and hacks, the federal exchange is not playing by the same rules as private businesses," Black writes.

She adds that while there are laws in place to ensure private companies disclose if someone's personal information has been compromised, there is no notification law for federal government database breaches. What's more, she says, the Department of Health and Human Services expressly refused to include a notification provision for the new federal exchange.

"This is an astonishing failure on the part of the administration, though sadly characteristic of how they have proceeded at every turn with implementation of this train wreck. IT experts have repeatedly raised red flags about the security of the information people are putting into the exchanges."

She points out that there have already been 32 reported security incidences since the website was launched on Oct. 1, and the website has been described by former Social Security Administrator Michael Astrue as a "hacker's dream." Furthermore, she says, ten Attorneys General have also written to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about security concerns.

"Notification is commonsense and should not be a partisan issue—if the White House and Congressional Democrats want to own this potential cyber threat to millions of Americans, they'll have the chance," Black writes.

Black said she introduced legislation last month, called the Federal Exchange Data Breach Notification Act, to address the issue.

"My House Republican colleagues and I will continue to do everything we can to protect Americans from this ill-conceived healthcare law, and I would advise my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to start doing the same."

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