FTC wants stronger rules on consumer data

US-TRADE-APPLE-FTC

Federal Trade Commission(FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez conducts a press conference January 15, 2014, at FTC headquarters in Washington, DC.

Massive security breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus last year put millions of customers at risk of identity theft and credit card fraud. In light of these major rifts in consumer secuity, Federal Trade Commission chair Edith Ramirez is urging Congress to adopt several new rules to better protect consumer data such as credit card information, usernames and passwords.

"What we are seeking is that there are robust security requirements as well as a national breach notice requirement," said Ramirez. "We'd also like any national legislation to include FTC enforcement with a civil penalty."

States currently enforce their own regulations when it comes to notifying customers of a breach in security. According to Ramirez, a federal requirement would benefit shoppers across state lines as well as aid law enforcement in prosecuting cybercrime.

"It's critical that consumers receive reasonably prompt notification so that they can take whatever steps they need if there has been a breach and their consumer information has been exposed," said Ramirez.

Several senators have introduced similar legislation to congress, but the bill has not moved out of committee. In the meantime, Ramirez says she hopes the FTC can fill the void of Congress. She added that the market also plays a significant role in determining privacy measures.

"Consumers are increasingly demanding adequate protection for their information both in terms of data security and larger privacy questions," said Ramirez.

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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