News

Attorney General seeks national standard to protect against ID theft

Attorney General seeks national standard to protect against ID theft

TARGETED:Data thefts at Target and luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group LLC have rekindled enthusiasm in Congress for a single federal law on how customers should be notified about such breaches. But those efforts face the same roadblock as in the past: dozens of overlapping state laws are already in place. Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Attorney General Eric Holder, citing the recent massive data theft at retailer Target Corp, urged Congress on Monday to enact a national standard for notifying consumers about such breaches.

“This would empower the American people to protect themselves if they are at risk of identity theft,” Holder said in a statement urging congressional action. “It would enable law enforcement to better investigate these crimes – and hold compromised entities accountable when they fail to keep sensitive information safe.”

Data thefts at Target and luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group LLC have rekindled enthusiasm in Congress for a single federal law on how customers should be notified about such breaches. But those efforts face the same roadblock as in the past: dozens of overlapping state laws are already in place.

Federal laws regulate how specific industries, such as banks and hospitals, handle compromised data security, but other kinds of companies, including retailers, face no such uniform standard.

Instead, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed their own laws that tell companies when and how consumers have to be alerted to data breaches and what qualifies as a breach. Negotiations over fitting state standards under an umbrella federal law therefore face a tug of war among companies, consumer advocates and state authorities.

The National Retail Federation in a January letter to Congress restated its decade-old position in favor of a nationwide standard that would pre-empt state rules.

But some state attorneys general worry that federal standards would dilute their power to pursue violators.

Saying that data breaches “are becoming all too common,” Holder said Justice Department officials were working closely with the FBI and prosecutors to combat cyber criminals.

“It’s time for leaders in Washington to provide the tools we need to do even more,” he added, urging Congress “to create a strong, national standard for quickly alerting consumers whose information may be compromised.”

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

Recent Headlines

in Viral Videos

Famous album covers come alive

18-overlay1

No, your eyes aren't tricking you. The album covers in Roy Kafri's new music video ARE singing along.

in Sports

Vegas police probe complaint against Blake Griffin

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin put the ball to his face as he reacts to being called for a foul against the Sacramento Kings during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Saturday, April 12, 2014. The Clippers won 117-101.

Police are investigating a man's allegation that Clippers star Blake Griffin attacked him in a Las Vegas nightclub during the weekend.

in Sports

NBA owners vote down lottery reform

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Silver announced that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the league in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation.

NBA owners have voted down proposed changes to the league's draft lottery system, staving off efforts to curb tanking for the time being.

in Sports

Nine UNC employees fired or disciplined in scandal

University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt, left, and President Tom Ross prepare to address members of the media with results of an investigation into academic irregularities following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.

The probe found that nearly half of the more than 3,100 students enrolled in classes they didn't have to show up for, were athletes.

in Sports

World Series game 2

FILE - At left, in an Oct. 12, 2014, file photo, San Francisco Giants' Jake Peavy throws during the second inning in Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis. At right, in a July 20, 2014, file photo, Kansas City Royals' Yordano Ventura pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston. The Giants try to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series when Jake Peavy starts against Kansas City rookie Yordano Ventura, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.

Game 2 of the World Series is tonight on KPUG as Jake Peavy goes to the hill for the Giants with Yordano Ventura going for the Royals.

Bellingham Traffic