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Data Breaches a Hot Topic in Washington This Week


Post Date: February 9, 2014
By: Stephanie Miller

In three different sets of hearings this week, legislators and regulators discussed proposed regulation for consumer protection from data breaches.  DMA and other business leaders have participated and contributed to the conversations, in particular to press the point that while consumers are victims in these situations, businesses are victims, too.

The three data breach hearings that have been held so far this week are:

  1. Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance—“Safeguarding Consumers’ Financial Data
  2. Senate Judiciary Committee—“Privacy in the Digital Age: Preventing Data Breaches and Combating Cybercrime
  3. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade—“Protecting Consumer Information: Can Data Breaches Be Prevented?

Common themes from all three hearings include:

  • Adopting a uniform federal data security standard, preempting the patchwork of current state laws;
  • Expanding the FTC’s authority to aid in its data security enforcement efforts;
  • Adopting chip and PIN or chip and signature technology to decrease fraud losses;
  • Allowing for flexibility of businesses of all sizes, as well as to account for the ever-evolving threats posed to these businesses;
  • Acknowledgement that there is no perfect solution, as these breaches will inevitably happen on occasion regardless of the security measures taken;
  • Evaluating if recent company notification to consumers of the breaches were timely and/or appropriate;
  • Information sharing between law enforcement, government agencies, and the private sector/industry is to preventing future attacks; and,
  • The impact of emerging technologies, such as making purchases via mobile devices.

DMA is working through our Data Protection Alliance – a coalition of members and other trade associations – to ensure that needed regulation is passed but does not stifle innovation or cause undue or incongruous burden.  In particular, DMA supports national data breach legislation to replace the current 47 state laws.   We continue to advance our Five Fundamentals for the Future agenda.

 

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