National Consumers League

2015 Data Security Policy Agenda Urges Incoming Congress to Enact Stronger Protections

December 9, 2014

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League, benk@nclnet.org, (202) 835-3323

Expert panel examines rising levels of fraud, identity theft and steps policymakers must take to confront the threat

Washington, DC - The National Consumers League (NCL) today released its 2015 data security agenda for policymakers at a Capitol Hill briefing, where a panel of experts discussed actions the 114th Congress should take to improve data security at retailers, financial institutions, and government agencies.

“With the holiday shopping season in full swing after a year of seemingly endless data breaches, consumers are more concerned than ever about criminals stealing and exploiting their personal information,” said John Breyault, NCL’s Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud. “We want government, and particularly Congress, to address our nation’s data breach epidemic.”

Today’s discussion focused on NCL’s policy agenda, which lays out a series of measures lawmakers and regulators should take to protect consumers. It builds on the recommendations in NCL’s 2013 “State of Identity Theft” report and on innovative research NCL conducted this summer with Javelin Strategy and Research. Both studies found that the consumer impact of data breaches is severe, and that consumers urgently want government to act to protect their personal information from hackers and other criminals.

“Americans are losing confidence in our nation’s data security infrastructure as it fails again and again to protect our personal information,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director. “Right now, the bad guys have the upper hand. We can win this fight, but it won’t happen without leadership from Washington.”

Panelists at Tuesday’s briefing included Al Pascual, Director of Fraud and Security at Javelin Strategy and Research; Larry Clinton, President and CEO of the Internet Security Alliance; Jared Bomberg, Associate at Hogan Lovells LLP; Justin Brookman, Director of the Consumer Privacy Project and Center for Democracy & Technology; and Sam Simon, Senior Counsel to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. 

Tuesday’s policy briefing was the latest event in NCL’s #DataInsecurity Project, an ongoing campaign to raise awareness and push for action on data security in light of an historic period of data breach incidents around the globe. The initiative continues tomorrow, December 10th, when the National Consumers League will join cyber security expert and investigative journalist Brian Krebs to discuss his new book, Spam Nation, and the rising occurrence of data breaches. More information can be found here.

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About the NCL #DataInsecurity Project

In 2013, there were 614 data breaches, which led to more than 550 million identities compromised. New data breaches means more identity theft and other fraud, and more consumers facing financial loss, great inconvenience, and a loss of trust in the marketplace. NCL's #DataInsecurity Project raises awareness about the need for reforms aimed at better protecting consumer data and calls on our policymakers to act now to strengthen cybersecurity standards. 

About the National Consumers League

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