Senator Menendez Concerned by Target’s Disclosure of Larger Customer Data Breach

Senator Menendez Concerned by Target’s Disclosure of Larger Customer Data Breach

NEWARK, NJ - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) expressed concern with the latest disclosure by Target Corporation that their December data security breach was significantly more extensive then the company reported. According to news reports, up to 110 million customers' personal information might have been compromised.

"Now that we know the Target data breach was far worse than we first thought, it further underscores the need for action," said Sen. Menendez. "Consumers must be assured that every time they swipe their credit card it isn't an open door for thieves to invade their private lives. Retailers who fail to take the necessary steps to protect a customer's sensitive personal information should be held accountable."

Last month, Sen. Menendez wrote the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting information on the investigation and whether any additional legislation is needed to protect consumer's data.

"The FTC has confirmed receipt of my inquiry," the Senator continued. "I eagerly await their response and remain willing to put forth additional legislative fixes that are necessary to protect consumers' sensitive data, including providing the FTC with the ability to levy fines or penalties."

In the interim, Sen. Menendez will co-sponsor Sen. Patrick Leahy's Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014, which will protect consumers' data and provide a uniform standard for data breach notifications. The bill will also increase penalties for companies that conceal data breaches, increase penalties for attempted computer hacking and conspiracy, broaden the scope of password trafficking offenses, and increase FTC authority to enforce data security standards.

On December 26th, Menendez announced that he had sent a letter to FTC Chairwoman Ramirez requesting information into the Target data breach. As part of his announcement, he reiterated his belief that the FTC must be given the regulatory means to prevent such breaches.

On December 30th, Senators Menendez, Warner and Schumer asked for a Senate Banking Committee hearing on whether companies are properly safeguarding customers' data. Menendez, Warner, and Schumer are members of the committee.

On December 19, Target announced that they experienced a data breach affecting over 40 million Target shoppers' credit and debit accounts, including customers' names, card information and security codes. As part of their inquiry, Target announced on December 27 that customers' encrypted PIN numbers were also compromised in the breach.