COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/SCRN/WVOC) - The state Senate has tentatively approved a bill meant to increase oversight of public agencies' computer systems following last fall's massive data breach at the Department of Revenue.
The Senate voted unanimously to centralize responsibility of cyber-security under a state Department of Information Security that would report directly to the governor.
An identity theft unit would also be created at the state Department of Consumer Affairs.
Under a one-year contract Governor Nikki Haley negotiated last fall, Experian monitors taxpayers' credit reports for suspicious activity and provides after-the-fact alerts.
Anderson County Senator Kevin Bryant says the Senate bill would direct the governor to negotiate up to 10 years of ID theft protection for taxpayers through the state's bid process.
“We initially thought that this is a lifetime problem and the bill initially said 'lifetime protection.' We backed up,” Bryant explained.
“You know, technology changes all the time. The bill right now says 'up to 10 years.' If during negotiations they feel like they'll get the best deal for five...but it is up to 10 years.”
In addition, Richland County Senator John Scott says the measure would create tax deductions up to $300 for individuals and $1,000 for families who decide to purchase their own ID theft protection.
“If some want further protection than what the state can afford to pay for, utilizing tax credits and other deductions and providing them a portion of whatever we set aside to offset their costs,” Scott says.
The Senate bill needs one more reading before it goes to the House, which has several bills related to the DOR hacking, ranging from a proposal to develop a fund to reimburse ID theft victims to creating a state computer security office.