WASHINGTON Tim Pawlenty, president and chief executive of the Financial Services Roundtable, is urging Congress to pass information-sharing legislation and toughen requirements on retailers in the wake of the major data breach at Target.
Hackers gained access to personal information for as many as 110 million Target customers over the holidays, with a similar attack occurring at Neiman Marcus and possibly other retailers. Lawmakers have stepped up their calls for oversight hearings and even legislation, though banks and retailers remain at odds over what fixes are needed.
Pawlenty highlighted the costs of data breaches to the banking industry in a letter to members of Congress on Monday.
"The retailer breaches will create burdens on consumers, including near-term fraud and longer-term consumer identity theft risk. In addition, the breaches will increase financial institution costs to monitor fraud and to reissue new credit and debit cards," he wrote. "The liability protections financial institutions offer their customers minimize fraud costs consumers would otherwise bear, but such incidents increase the costs to financial institutions even if financial institutions are not at fault for the data breaches causing the problem."
The trade group leader asked lawmakers to pass information-sharing legislation that encourages better sharing between the public and private sectors and heightens the penalties for cybercrimes. He also pushed for heightened security requirements for other industries, including retailers.
"We also encourage you to consider legislation that expands requirements and oversight of other sectors important to the nation's economy," Pawlenty wrote. "These include the retail sector where recent breaches indicate a need for improvement and the telecommunications industry where measures to prevent cyber-attacks such as the filtering of malicious software and the disconnection of botnet participants could significantly influence the protection of businesses, consumers and the economy."