After TARGET Credit Card Hack, Senator Wants Data Security Crackdown on Companies

United States Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is demanding that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) institute stronger regulations to prevent another major loss of customer data such as that experienced by Target department stores starting at the end of November.

"Our country's consumers depend upon safe and secure transactions, and especially at this crucial time of year, our country's retailers must commit to fulfilling that expectation. Unfortunately, these data breaches are becoming increasingly common," Menendez said in a letter sent to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "Therefore, I write to request an update on the Federal Trade Commission's efforts in regard to this and other data breach situations, as well as whether additional legislative support would help to protect consumers."

U.S. retailer Target Corp. announced only days before Christmas that it was the victim of a massive data breach that left the credit and debit card numbers of millions of customers at risk.

As a way to make some amends, Target offered a nation-wide 10 percent reduction of pricesĀ on December 21 to entice customers to return to its stores.

"We recognize this has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season," Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in a statement.

"Our guests' trust is our top priority at Target and we are committed to making this right," he said.

By December 27, though, Target confirmed that encrypted PINs to millions of customer accounts were stolen.

Still, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in a statement that the data was "strongly encrypted" and likely secure. "We remain confident that PIN numbers are safe and secure," she said.

But cyber security experts maintain that it is still possible that customers' debit cards are at risk.

All this is what Senator Menendez wants addressed from Washington by adding "more teeth" to FTC regulations.

"People need to know that they aren't going to get ripped off shopping, either by silent hackers or by the merchants themselves," Menendez said.

Senator Menendez wants retailers to prove that they have enough security measures in place to prevent these sorts of dangers in the future.


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