August 24, 2014

Hunt: Congressional action on data security is a must

Aug. 22, 2014 – NAFCU's Carrie Hunt said legislative action to address data breaches must be a priority when Congress returns next month as news of a United Parcel Service breach affecting 51 of its stores was reported this week, among other recent retailer breaches.

Hunt, NAFCU's senior vice president of government affairs and general counsel, wrote congressional leaders Thursday pointing out that "there is no federal standard for merchants regarding the safekeeping of financial information or data breach notification efforts." She wrote that "smaller financial institutions, like credit unions, struggle to make consumers whole in the wake of breaches they have no control over and didn't contribute to," in her letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

UPS announced its data breach Wednesday and encouraged its customers to check its website to see if they've shopped at one of the stores impacted by the breach, which occurred between January and August. The Wall Street Journal reported that UPS does not know how many customers have been affected but that the breach may have compromised the data of 105,000 customer transactions.

There have been a recent string of retailer data breaches in the past couple weeks including Community Health Systems Inc. and nationwide supermarket chain Supervalu.

NAFCU was the first financial trade association to call for a national data security standard for retailers in the wake of the massive Target data breach last year, and has been steadfast in its push for legislative action on Capitol Hill.