January 30, 2014

4 hearings over 4 days on data security ahead

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade has joined a growing list of congressional panels that, as urged by NAFCU, are planning hearings next week on recent merchant data breaches affecting consumers' personal and financial data.

The hearing, "Protecting Consumer Information: Can Data Breaches Be Prevented?" is scheduled for Feb. 5 and will include witnesses from Target Corporation, Neiman Marcus and the U.S. Secret Service. The hearing will follow a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing on data security on Feb. 3 and a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on cybercrime on Feb. 4. The full Senate Banking Committee will hold another hearing on data security on Feb. 6.

NAFCU is closely following all four hearings and will weigh in on its members' behalf. Meanwhile, a new bill is being introduced in the Senate addressing this issue.

In a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that the Justice Department is investigating the recent Target data breach. Michaels Stores Inc. also recently announced a possible data security breach, which would be its second in three years.

NAFCU was the first financial trade association to call on Congress for hearings and legislation on national data security standards for retailers in the wake of the Target breach. Working jointly with the Independent Community Bankers of America, NAFCU wrote the House and Senate Tuesday to reiterate the need for Congress to act.