Feb. 03 --Using the Target store at Bergen Town Center in Paramus as his backdrop, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez , D- N.J. , called for tougher penalties for retailers who don't protect customers' financial and personal data, and said he would introduce legislation to strengthen privacy rules. Menendez, who is a member of the Senate Banking Committee , also said Friday that he would seek answers at Senate hearings in Washington on Monday and Tuesday from retailers about recent data breaches. He plans to introduce the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights in response to the massive data breach at Target, the nation's second-largest retailer. The credit and debit card information and email and home addresses of as many as 110 million customers were stolen by cybercriminals in November and December. Neiman Marcus and Michael's craft stores also revealed credit breaches last month. "Target was just the tip of the iceberg," Menendez said. He said Target was "not the target of our concern, it's the catalyst for action." Menendez said he intended to grill retail representatives at the hearings on "pressing questions such as why we do not have start-to-finish encryption on our financial transactions." His proposed legislation would limit the type of information a retailer or other entity could collect and how long it could be stored. It also would allow consumers to opt out of having their information transferred to third-party vendors. The legislation also would create a federal standard for notification when there has been a breach. Currently, individual states have their own notification rules. In addition, Menendez said, he is co-sponsoring legislation backed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy , D- Vt ., that would strengthen the ability of the Federal Trade Commission to penalize retailers that are lax about protecting data. Menendez's bill would apply to retailers and businesses that collect, use, transfer or store information about more than 5,000 people during a 12-month period. Menendez, in response to questions, said he had never been the victim of credit card fraud, and that he still used credit cards. But he does so, he said, "knowing there's a risk" attached to swiping a card. He said he would be exploring at the hearings whether microchip-protected cards, known as EMV cards, would better protect consumers. ___ (c)2014 The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) Visit The Record (Hackensack, N.J.) at www.NorthJersey.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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