U.S. Rep. Tony CardenasSACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — In Washington, D.C. today, U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley), a member of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, which is a part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, passed two bipartisan changes to legislation on data security. The amendments, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to better educate consumers and small businesses on the impacts and prevention of data breaches.

The first amendment requires the FTC to create and maintain a website to explain how companies can improve data security and prevent hacking. The website will also be a forum to share best practices, so companies can take proactive measures to secure their data.

The second amendment requires the FTC to take a more active role in preventing security breaches, by conducting educational outreach to small businesses on these security practices and hacking prevention.

Small businesses are becoming increasingly frequent targets of data breaches. While larger companies may have the infrastructure to deal with these breaches, they can really devastate a small business.

“In Los Angeles, we’ve seen the economic impacts, and other damage, data breaches can cause,” said Cárdenas. “It is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and in the Internet age that means their online lives as well. My amendments, and this bill, will create rational, consistent requirements for both businesses and governments, to help protect all Americans.

“Even with my amendments, this bill is not perfect, but it is likely to pass and in a Congress that passes so few meaningful laws to protect American businesses and consumers, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I will continue to work to improve this legislation as it works its way through Congress.”

The amendments change the Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015, a law to improve consumer notification and other reactions by businesses and financial companies who suffer data breaches. The proposed law will now move to the full Committee on Energy and Commerce, where it is expected to pass and then be voted on by the U.S. House and Senate.

According to Experian, the average data breach cost businesses $3.5 million in 2014. The Ponemon Institute indicates the average cost paid for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information globally increased more than 9 percent from $136 in 2013 to $145 in 2014. The cost per record increased to $195 for companies in the U.S.

Data breaches impact thousands of U.S. businesses each year. The breaches do not only result in economic damage. In Los Angeles, a recent breach at Sony resulted in personal emails being released into the public domain and the theft of personal info of thousands of employees and their dependents.