House lawmakers seeking breach answers from Home Depot exec

September 15, 2014

WASHINGTON (9/16/14)--A bi-partisan coalition of House lawmakers is seeking some answers from Home Depot about its data security practices.

Home Depot confirmed Sept. 8 that a breach of its payment systems  occurred, one that could have affected customers in its 2,200 U.S. and Canadian locations. The company is still determining the full scope and scale of the breach.

Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), members of the House Privacy Caucus, sent a letter Monday to  Depot Chief Executive Officer Frank Blake requesting more details about the breach than the company has made public so far. The legislators want that information, and answers to a series of questions, by Oct. 13 (Bloomberg BNA Sept. 15).

The congressmen want the Home Depot executive to detail what lessons, if any, his company learned from earlier breaches--like the Target breach that compromised 40 million credit and debit card accounts as well as personal information for 70 million customers in late 2013.

What security measures, the trio asks in their letter, has Home Depot implemented in the wake of that breach and others--like one at Neiman Marcus Group Ltd. The lawmakers also wanted to know about Home Depot's procedures for screening vendors before giving them access the company's sensitive data.

The Credit Union National Association strongly advocates on behalf of legislation that would protect financial institutions and consumers from the harm such breaches cause by subjecting merchants to the same federal data protection standards to which credit unions and other financial institutions are already subject.