Lawmakers to Apologize for Hacking?

6:54 PM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The 2013 legislative session is officially underway.  General assembly leaders gaveled in the new session around noon Tuesday and many have continued the topic of cyber security.

Kershaw Sen. Vincent Sheheen introduced a resolution asking for the Senate and House to apologize to South Carolinians for the Department of Revenue Security breach.

"The people of South Carolina deserve an apology and it looks to me like, we, the Senate and the House are gonna have to do that on behalf of our state government. It's the right thing to do," said Sheheen.

The resolution says both houses agree "That the General Assembly, on behalf of the government of South Carolina, apologizes to the taxpaying citizens of this State for the state government's failure to take reasonable steps to prevent hackers from breaking into the Department of Revenue's computer system and stealing Social Security numbers, bank account information, and other personal data belonging to millions of taxpayers."

Several senators asked to become co-sponsors after Sheheen introduced the measure.

Sheheen says the resolution doesn't point fingers or cast blame, but Governor Haley's Spokesman Rob Godfrey issued a statement following its announcement.

"It's a political stunt, but one we have no problem with as long as the apology covers the decade-plus Vince was in the South Carolina legislature and never once mentioned cyber-security," said Godfrey.

 "It is sad that the governor attacks me personally when I'm simply trying to do what Governor Haley should have done months ago, be honest with the people of our state. Governor Haley should be joining me instead of attacking me," said Sheheen in response.


Other lawmakers were thinking about the state's cyber security as well.


Rep. Bruce Bannister, a Greenville Republican who chairs the House committee investigating the hacking says state agencies are all on different tracks when it comes to IT and getting them on the same page could help going forward.


"Every agency does it a different way everybody has a different idea about what's right and what's wrong, what's necessary and what's unnecessary. One of the things I expect our committee to do is recommend or pass legislation that consolidates the IT systems and sets up some protocols that say if you wanna do it by yourself, if you don't want to participate in the plan that's set up, then you'll have to follow some guidelines," said Bannister.  "We heard a lot of things like dual passwords, we know there's some state agencies out there that don't have dual passwords, but they're going to when we're finished."


Bannister says his committee will hear from the state's revenue agency in a meeting on Thursday.






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