High Profile Security Breaches Spur Congressional Action

Recently, several large retailers, including Target and Neiman Marcus, announced that hackers had compromised credit card and other personal consumer data. At Target, 40 million debt and credit cards were impacted and the personal information of as many as 70 million additional customers exposed. Similarly, as many as 1.1 million debit and credit cards may have had their data stolen in the Neiman Marcus breach. These large scale data breaches follow other exposures in recent months, including those at Snapchat and Skype. Although concerns over the exposure of consumer data and cybercrime have existed for some time, in the wake of these breaches, Congress may be poised to impose additional security and regulatory requirements around customer security and notifications.

Despite a growing appetite on Capitol Hill to address these issues, data security and cybercrime face potential congressional turf wars as there are multiple committees of jurisdiction. Already, lawmakers from seven committees are considering holding hearings on data breach, including: the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; the House Financial Services Committee; the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee; and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

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