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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill designed to protect private information gathered by state government has taken the first step toward passage.
The House State Government committee unanimously passed House Bill 5 on Thursday.
HB 5 does two things: it requires state agencies to better protect your private information, and also requires that those affected be told if there is a breach in security.
The bill is being pushed by state auditor Adam Edelen.
"Every cybersecurity expert agrees that it's not a matter of if agencies will be hacked. It is just a matter of when," Edelen told lawmakers.
The recent massive security breach suffered by Target stores has focused new attention on cybersecurity.
"From social security numbers, to tax returns, health records, to credit cards, governments possess more sensitive, private data than any other single entity," said Edelen.
The bill requires state agencies to take more steps to protect online data. And if there is a verified breach, the agency must notify those affected within 35 days.
"This bill is about a government that collects your information has an obligation to inform you if they lose it," said Edelen.
The law would apply to every executive branch agency, including the new state health exchange, Kynect, and to local governments, including school boards.
It does not cover legislative offices or the courts, but Edelen believes they'll follow along.
"It would be very difficult -- even if they were inclined not to follow the obligations that the rest of government are now going to be under with House Bill 5 -- I think it would be very difficult to do that," he said.
But even supporters agree: nothing is full-proof.
"Somebody's creating the processes to protect it. And with that, somebody is trying to defeat it. And so we always have to try to stay one step ahead," said Rep. Denver Butler of Louisville, a former police officer.
The committee passed the bill unanimously. It now goes to the full House.
With 74 co-sponsors, passage in the House is almost certain. And Edelen believes the Senate will follow suit.