Congress looks at Sony's data security

A sign is seen atop the headquarters building of Japan's electronics giant Sony Corp. in Tokyo, June 21, 2007.

Jeremy Hobson: Well now to Capitol Hill. There's a hearing today looking into the security of online data following the two recent hacking incidents involving Sony's PlayStation Network. Hackers stole personal information from tens of millions of the network's users. But Sony won't be sending anyone to today's hearing.

And Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports the company's absence will only increase calls to punish online companies that lose their customers' data.


John Dimsdale: Some lawmakers want to make companies use the latest technology to keep hackers out. But Carnegie Mellon computer science professor David Farber says laws can't keep up with technology.

David Farber: I'd hate to see the Congress dabbling, saying that you must encrypt files. What do I encrypt it in? Strong encryption? What's strong encryption?

Farber says Congress should direct companies that lose sensitive data to automatically contact credit rating agencies. But Larry Ponemon doesn't think regulation is the answer. He runs an online security research firm. He says consumers have choices beyond Sony.

Larry Ponemon: I think the Wii and the Xbox will be preferred all things being equal simply because of the data breach.

The market, he says, will punish companies that lose data all by itself.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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