Congress Turns Attention to Target

Dec. 30, 2013

masterpass-eur With the criminal investigation still in progress, the inevitable congressional attention has begun to descend on Target following the security breach that may have compromised the payment-card information of more than 40 million constituents. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging the regulatory body to open an investigation of the breach.

“Given the scope and duration of Target’s recent data breach, it appears that Target may have failed to employ reasonable and appropriate security measures to protect personal information,” Blumenthal wrote in his letter. “A breach of this size indicates that somebody gained extensive and unfettered access to customer information held by Target. The fact that the intrusion lasted for more than two weeks indicates that Target’s procedures for detecting and shutting down an effort to steal customer data does not live up to a reasonable standard.”

New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez also contacted the FTC and offered his “assistance” in a Target probe. Rep. Albio Sires (D-N.J.) said he’d join Menendez on working toward a legislative fix to prevent such security breaches in the future.

Other public officials seizing the opportunity to hold Target accountable include U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and attorneys general in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and South Dakota, opening the door to a multistate investigation. At least three class-action suits stemming from the breach also have been filed.