U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee who chaired the first congressional hearing after the 2013 data breach at Target and other retailers which exposed millions of customers to potential fraud, sent a letter to federal banking regulators today questioning the lack of follow-up to better protect consumers. Sen. Warner also commented on the Obama Administration’s announcement today that it will seek additional consumer financial protections:
“The President’s call for more timely consumer notification after personal financial information is stolen or misused, and proposals to more quickly identify and prevent identity theft, represent solid steps forward. But I believe there is more we should be doing to protect consumers and the U.S. economy.
“And while chip-and-PIN safety features now will be required for credit and debit cards issued to federal agencies, I urge federal regulators to push harder to require banks and card-issuers to adopt better anti-fraud security features more widely for American consumers. Technologies like chip-and-PIN have resulted in significant reductions in fraud in many major G-20 countries, including the U.K. Yet despite a series of data breaches affecting hundreds of millions of American consumers in recent months, American card issuers and financial firms continue to issue and reissue less-secure signature cards.
“I believe America should be leading the world in technological innovation and consumer financial protection. Constant innovation in payment card security is essential, and I hope efforts are not limited to simply implementing PIN technology but also incorporate tokenization and other evolving technologies to ensure consumers are protected from theft of their financial data.”
On February 3, 2014, Sen. Warner chaired the first hearing in Congress in the aftermath of the Target breach. On the heels of that hearing, Sens. Warner and Mark Kirk (R-IL) called for the private sector to cooperate in creating Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) to share information on data breaches, something the retail and financial services industries have pursued on a voluntary basis. Additionally, Sens. Warner and Kirk introduced legislation in the last Congress to strengthen consumer protections for debit cardholders by capping liability for fraud at $50, the same amount as for credit cards. Sen. Warner plans to re-introduce similar legislation in this Congress in coming weeks.