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September 19, 2017

In Wake of Equifax Data Breach, Bennet Requests Immediate Review of Consumer Data Protection

Millions of Americans’ information at risk of hacking

Washington, D.C. - In the wake of a massive data breach at Equifax, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, along with a group of Democratic Senators, called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to immediately review data security not only at Equifax, but also at the other two major consumer reporting agencies, Experian and TransUnion.

"As one of the three major consumer reporting agencies, Equifax centrally holds the most sensitive PII [Personally Identifiable Information]-information that determines whether Americans will be able to purchase a car, secure a loan for a home, attain employment, and countless other functions that are critical to economic growth," the Senators wrote in a letter to FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen. "A breach of this size no doubt leaves other consumer reporting agencies a target."

The Senators wrote that three data breaches at Equifax in two years, as well the company's failure to inform the public for weeks, "exposed serious fault lines in the company's ability to protect PII" and "suggests the possibility of similar foundational weaknesses at the other consumer reporting agencies."

In addition to investigating the cause of Equifax's data breach, the Senators called for the FTC to develop data security standards for the holding of sensitive personal and related consumer financial information; review current standards at the consumer reporting agencies to determine whether Americans' personal data is secure; and consult with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to ensure that in the case of a data breach, consumers are being notified in a timely manner and have access to all of the necessary tools to protect themselves against identity theft.

In addition to Bennet, the letter was signed by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Al Franken (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris VanHollen (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).

Click HERE for a copy of the full letter. 

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