National Consumers League

Advocates call for FTC action to address data insecurity

March 25, 2014

Contact: NCL Communications, Ben Klein, (202) 835-3323,

Washington, DC – A coalition of consumer and privacy organizations today called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to convene a forum examining the ongoing impact of data insecurity on America’s consumers. In a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, the groups cited the increased consumer awareness of the threat of data breaches and other cybersecurity risks in the wake of data thefts at Target, Michaels, Snapchat, and other businesses.

“The Target breach should serve as a wake-up call that more must be done to address the looming data insecurity disaster,” noted the groups. “This is no longer an issue that can be limited to discussion among cybersecurity experts. It is now a threat to the entire economy.”

Statistics cited by the organizations included:

  • Since 2005, there have been more than 4,000 disclosed data breaches, a rate of more than one per day for nine straight years, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
  • According to Javelin Strategy & Research, 13.1 million consumers suffered identity fraud in 2013, the second highest level on record. Total annual identity fraud losses were $18 billion.
  • Since 2004, more than 1.1 billion consumer records have been exposed to unauthorized parties, according to Verizon.

Past FTC workshops have examined pressing data security challenges surrounding the “Internet of Things,” mobile devices, and tax-related identity theft, among other issues. These forums provide an important opportunity for policymakers to convene experts and discuss ongoing consumer protection issues facing the Commission.

Organizations listed on the letter included Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumers League (NCL) and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

“The threat to consumers and the economy from data breaches is very real and growing,” said John Breyault, NCL Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud. “Given the vast amounts of personal information that consumers are being asked to provide, it is imperative that the data be better protected from hackers and other malicious actors. As the nation’s leading consumer protection agency, the FTC is the right organization to lead a national conversation on this issue.”

Read the groups' letter here.


About the National Consumers League 

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit