“Consumers shouldn’t be left to simply hope and pray their personal information will be safe every time they swipe their debit or credit card or enter their information online. They deserve protection.”
WASHINGTON– Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at today’s full committee hearing on data and cybersecurity:
Today’s hearing will be focused on protecting consumers and their private financial information in an age of computer hackers. The world has experienced a technology revolution; one that has brought remarkable benefits to consumers and the broader economy. But it has also increased some risks on consumers by making the theft of their personal financial information a profitable enterprise for cyber criminals and computer hackers.
In the era of “big data,” large-scale security breaches are unfortunately all too common. Every breach leaves consumers exposed and vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and a host of other crimes. We have certainly all read about the high-profile, headline-grabbing breaches at Target and Home Depot. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center there were 783 U.S. data breaches in 2014, an increase of more than 27 percent over the prior year. The Center for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee Securities estimate such attacks cost the United States economy $100 billion annually.
American consumers rightfully expect their personal information to be protected by their financial institutions, retailers, card networks, payment processors and, yes, by their federal government. Consumers shouldn’t be left to simply hope and pray their personal information will be safe every time they swipe their debit or credit card or enter their information online. They deserve protection.
So today the committee will hear from representatives of organizations whose members constitute the major participants in the payment system. We welcome their expertise and insight. My hope is that this hearing affords Members on both sides of the aisle an opportunity to better understand what security measures are currently in place to prevent data breaches, how consumers are notified following a breach, what types of emerging technologies will help reduce the frequency and severity of breaches, and what steps are being taken by the merchant and financial services communities to address the problem and where additional federal legislation may be warranted.
I further hope the committee will engage in this thoughtful and constructive dialogue on a bipartisan basis. In that regard, I wish to thank Chairman Neugebauer and the gentleman from Delaware, Mr. Carney, for starting this bipartisan dialogue off on the right foot by introducing a bipartisan bill to address this important problem.