WASHINGTON (12/11/14)--Members of the Senate Banking Committee agreed with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) during a committee hearing Wednesday when he said cybersecurity legislation is needed.
Schumer expressed hope that the 114th Congress could enact such legislation, and when he asked the committee members present if they believed legislation was needed, all raised their hands in agreement.
The hearing covered ways to enhance data security coordination to protect the financial sector, and featured a number of government cybersecurity officials as witnesses.
Committee Chair Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) opened the hearing by saying cybersecurity is "one of the most important issues facing the financial services industry," and expressed hope that the next legislature will work on addressing the issue.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said if the goal is to minimize consumer information falling into the wrong hands, then security standards need to be toughened for all parties involved in the commerce system, starting with retailers.
"I understand the focus on the banks, but we need to harden our security down the line," she said. "We can't just make this about banks."
Valerie Abend, senior critical infrastructure officer for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, also said the recent data breaches highlight the need for better data security on the part of merchants.
She also said she supported merchants helping financial institutions "make consumers whole," when it comes to fraud caused by stolen data, so the burden does not fall only on financial services organizations.
The Credit Union National Association has stepped up its advocacy efforts to protect credit unions and other financial institutions, as well as consumers' data, from ever-increasing data breaches. Resources recently made available include a Stop the Data Breaches website, a video providing an overview of retailer data breaches and increased communications to legislators and other stakeholders pressing for stricter merchant security standards.