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Rep. Loudermilk, House Republicans Introduce Legislation to Protect Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) issued the following statement after he introduced the Protecting Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information Act, H.R. 4551:

“The federal government has two huge problems when it comes to cyber security: they collect way too much personally identifiable information (PII), and they have a poor track record of protecting this information from hackers. Look no further than the 2021 SolarWinds hack, which saw more than 30,000 public and private organizations breached and is considered one of the largest cyber hacks in modern history.

“As I’ve said many times, you don’t have to protect what you don’t collect; unfortunately, the federal government hasn’t learned this lesson. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been barreling forward with a new system – the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) – which tracks every trade an individual investor makes and links it to their identity through a centralized system. Not only is collecting all this information unnecessary, regulators already have similar systems that don’t easily match identities with transactions, but it also creates another security vulnerability and a target for hackers.

“This is why I have introduced the Protecting Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information Act, which would help prevent an accidental or intentional breach by restricting the SEC’s ability to collect this data in the first place. With this legislation, the SEC would only be able to request this data if they are investigating or enforcing violations of federal securities law. Furthermore, they would be required to destroy the data after they are finished with it. This is a commonsense solution aimed to protect investors, and it in no way hinders the SEC’s mission. I look forward to my colleague’s support and ushering this bill through the 118th Congress.”

Reps. French Hill, Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Dan Meuser (R-PA), Young Kim (R-CA), and Zach Nunn (R-IA) are original co-sponsors of the bill.

Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) has authored companion legislation in the United States Senate.

“Investors trust the U.S. stock market with their savings and their privacy, but the SEC’s Consolidated Audit Trail would expose every American investor’s Social Security number and personal data to malicious hackers. The CAT is unconstitutional, and it hoards personal information it doesn’t need. My bill would make sure that the SEC only houses information it needs, and only while it needs it. As long as hackers and foreign enemies keep targeting Americans, the government shouldn’t endanger their personal information by creating one great, big, centralized target for bad actors. I’m thankful that Congressman Loudermilk is leading this effort in the House.” – Senator John Kennedy (R-LA)

"Too often we have seen cyber criminals and other bad actors take advantage of the personally identifiable information of investors and consumers. Retail investors need to have confidence that their data is protected by the SEC and not vulnerable to accidental or intentional data breaches that can put their privacy at risk. This legislation will further protect retail investors and help ensure the SEC is using this data in a targeted manner." - Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO)

“The growing amount of data the federal government collects is concerning. The SEC’s new database, the Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT), will collect and store the personal information of every individual that invests in the stock market - making CAT a prime target for cybercriminals to steal the identity of Americans. I am proud to support Rep. Loudermilk’s bill which would protect the financial privacy of American investors and Americans’ personal data from threats.” – Rep. French Hill (R-AR)

“As it currently stands, the SEC’s submission of personally identifiable information of traders to CAT poses too great of a risk to U.S. citizens. Under the current system, there would be grave consequences for investors should there be an accidental or intentional breach of CAT data. I support the important work Rep. Loudermilk is doing to ensure the SEC doesn’t inadvertently violate the privacy rights of the American people and to protect them and our financial system from malicious hackers and foreign adversaries. This legislation is a major step in the right direction toward safeguarding our citizens’ sensitive data from threats.” – Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA)

The Protecting Investors’ Personally Identifiable Information Act is supported by the American Securities Association.

"ASA thanks Congressman Loudermilk (R-GA) for protecting the privacy of American investors by introducing the Protecting Investors' Personally Identifiable Information Act (PIPIIA). The collection of investors' personal and financial information by a government database is unprecedented and poses a dangerous threat to the privacy rights of millions of Americans." – American Securities Association President & CEO Chris Iacovella