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On Target: CCUL sets agenda, reaches out to Congress prior to hearings

Thursday, February 06, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Columbia, SC and Raleigh, NC--The Carolinas Credit Union League advocacy team launched a data-breach awareness and outreach strategy on Monday, February 5, sending to each member of Congress an electronic letter from CEO John Radebaugh highlighting national and in-state impact of the Target breach, and urging a balanced solution for security and responsibility.

The letters preceded the Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, "Privacy in the Digital Age: Preventing Data Breaches and Combating Cybercrime." Next steps in the league plan are to craft letters to the editor from Radebaugh, engage key credit unions within regional media markets, and provide templates for customization by any credit union interested in joining the effort.

Delegation offices expressed appreciation for the input, and CCUL promised updates during visits with Congress during the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference at the end of this month. Credit unions can help by completing CUNA's Target Data Breach Survey as soon as possible.

"Credit unions...understand and appreciate the complexity of data security," wrote CCUL CEO John Radebaugh in the letter to each state delegation office, customized with state data. "Our frustration with merchants, particularly in instances like the Target breach, is with lack of responsibility and accountability when a breach occurs."

To start, Radebaugh recommended these objectives:

  • Subject merchants to the same type of data security standards that credit unions follow;

  • Require merchants to reimburse credit unions for the costs they incur as a result of merchant data breaches; and

  • Permit credit unions to identify the merchant at which a data breach occurs.

"Perhaps most frustrating for credit unions is that the lack of merchant accountability leaves vulnerable the very heart of member relationships credit unions work so hard to build," Radebaugh added. "When a merchant breach occurs and a credit union is unable to tell a member the responsible merchant’s name, the member often assumes wrongly that the compromise is the result of negligence by the credit union."

"It is only fair that we be allowed to offer greater reassurance and in doing so add incentive for merchants to protect consumer data."

To engage your member of Congress on the issue, contact Lauren Whaley in North Carolina or Billy Boylston in South Carolina. To join media outreach, contact Brandon Pugh.