Sens. Akaka, Carper Commend Steps to Better Protect Personal Information of Federal Employees from Security Breach

WASHINGTON – Today, Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Federal Financial Management Subcommittee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) commended the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB), governing body of the Thrift Savings Plan, for approving a minimum 19 percent budget increase for Fiscal Year 2013 in order to help the agency improve its data security measures, in anticipation of an expected increase in federal retirements. 

In July, Senator Akaka held a hearing on the State of Federal Privacy and Data Security Lawwhich examined whether current privacy and data security laws are effectively protecting Americans’ personal information. The hearing exposed weaknesses in the FRTIB’s breach notification plan following a massive data breach compromising the personal information of 123,000 Thrift Savings Plan participants. FRTIB cited a lack of resources as the cause of the poorly developed plan.  

“At my July oversight hearing, I expressed concern about gaps in the FRTIB’s privacy and data security which were exposed during a recent cyber attack,” said Sen. Akaka.  “Securing personal information is an issue that deserves attention and I am pleased that the Board is investing in IT professionals and addressing other staffing shortages.”

As our society becomes increasingly reliant on technology, it is imperative that we take bold steps to protect Americans’ sensitive information from fraud and identity theft,” said Sen. Carper, a co-author of comprehensive cybersecruity legislation in the Senate. “The breach at the federal Thrift Savings Plan announced earlier this year once again underscored the need for stronger cybersecurity protections and better data breach notification plans. I am encouraged that the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is identifying its needs and taking appropriate action to prevent a similar incident from happening again, and putting into place a real plan to respond quickly and effectively to protect employees in the unfortunate event of another security breach. It is my hope that Congress can enact comprehensive cybersecurity legislation sooner rather than later so we can help both the public and private sector better secure our sensitive data and critical infrastructure.”