Senators call on FTC to investigate Target breach

The FTC should have more authority to sanction victoms of data breaches, Senator Richard Blumenthal says

A U.S. senator has called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Target's security practices after the large retailer reported a data breach affecting 40 million customer credit and debit cards.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, urged the agency to begin an immediate investigation. "If Target failed to adequately and appropriately protect its customers' data, then the breach we saw this week was not just a breach of security; it was a breach of trust," Blumenthal wrote in a Sunday letter to the FTC.

The breach could expose Target customers to "significant and potentially permanent harm," Blumenthal wrote."Those Target customers who have their data misused by hackers or thieves could lose their good credit and in turn their ability to purchase the goods and services they need for their well being and the well being of their families," he added. Even customers whose stolen data will never ultimately be misused must live with the fear and uncertainty of knowing that it could be."

Blumenthal said he will push to give the agency more authority to penalize companies that have large data breaches. The FTC doesn't have the authority to impose fines for data breaches.

In addition, Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, called on the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate the breach.

Target said last week credit and debit card information, including the name of the customer, the credit or debit card number, the card's expiration date and the three-digit security code, was stolen at its stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel, in an email to customers Saturday, said they will not be responsible for fraudulent charges. Victims will get free credit monitoring from Target, he wrote.

The breach "was a crime against Target, our team members and most importantly you -- our valued guest," he added.

The FTC doesn't comment on active investigations, but the agency has investigated similar data breaches in the past.

In a March 2008 settlement with TJX, which owns T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and other retailers, the agency required the company to establish a comprehensive information security program and submit to biennial data security audits over the next 20 years. The company's 2005 breach, which it reported in 2007, affected more than 45 million customer credit and debit cards.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Chuck SchumerU.S. Federal Trade Commissione-commercetjxdata breachRichard BlumenthalGregg SteinhafelgovernmentU.S. Consumer Financial Protection BureauinternetTargetsecurity

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?