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Target breach investigation needed, Sen. Schumer tells CFPB
WASHINGTON (1/30/14)--Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate the recent Target data breach. And U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Department of Justice is committed to finding the perpetrators of these sorts of data breaches.

"Despite issuing statements promising the problem has been fixed, Target has yet to reveal exactly what system was breached, how it happened, and what steps they are taking to prevent another breach in the future," Schumer said in a release.

The breach resulted in the theft of 40 million debit and credit cards, and encrypted PIN data, and the names, mail and email addresses, and phone numbers of up to 70 million individuals. Credit unions have already incurred costs estimated to be in the range of $25 million to $30 million as a result of the Target stores data security breach, a Credit Union National Association survey has shown.

Schumer called for a transparent federal probe that reveals the full details of the Target breach to the public, and results in recommendations for how all stores can keep consumer credit card information safe. "Without a full investigation into what happened--and a subsequent issuing of clear guidelines for stores moving forward--there is no reason why such a large-scale breach of payment information will not happen again," Schumer said.

The senator also said the CFPB should play an active role in ensuring that retailers have adequate systems in place to protect consumers' data and identities. He asked the bureau to take a closer look at whether retailers systems should be required to transfer credit and debit card information as encrypted data.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation in recent weeks has warned retailers these breaches will become more common, and arts and crafts store Michaels this week launched its own investigation into a potential data breach at its stores.

U.S. Attorney General Holder also spoke on data security issues on Wednesday, telling members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Target data breach, and is "committed to working to find not only the perpetrators of these sorts of data breaches--but also any individuals and groups who exploit that data via credit card fraud."

CUNA was among the first trade groups to communicate with members of Congress following the breach, seeking hearings on the issue. The Senate Banking Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee have set separate data security hearings for next week, and other members of the U.S. Congress are considering holding hearings of their own.

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