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Waters’ Statement on the President’s Data Security Initiative

Following President Obama’s announcement of a new initiative designed to provide consumers with more tools to assist victims of identity theft, improve the government’s payment security, and accelerate the transition to stronger security technologies, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, released the following statement of support:

“I hope the steps announced today will accelerate the private sector’s adoption of stronger security measures for payment cards. For many consumers, the theft of their personal and financial information is becoming routine. Preventing it requires the adoption of the best available security standards throughout the payment system.

The President’s action today represents an important step in the right direction.  Although retailers and payment card issuers have made progress in upgrading security standards, action has largely been slow and failed to ensure that the highest standards are adopted.

With massive breaches of consumer’s personal and sensitive financial information touching the lives of millions of Americans, I have called on Congress to take action, and I will be actively working with my colleagues to put together an initiative that ensures consumers are informed in a timely manner when their personal information has been compromised.  When bad actors steal consumer data and fraud occurs, the victims must also be entitled to robust and consistent legal protections, regardless of the payment instrument used.

Without clear, legal protections that limit consumers’ liability and ensure consumers are made aware of potential breaches in a timely manner, consumer confidence in the safety and security of the payment process will continue to erode.  This, is unacceptable, and I stand ready to work with my colleagues to ensure that appropriate safeguards are put in place that protect the interests of consumers and strengthen our payment system.”

Waters has been a leader on cybersecurity issues under the jurisdiction of the Financial Services Committee. In January, she led Democratic members of the Financial Services Committee in calling on Republicans to hold a hearing on the Target data breach. Republicans granted her request, holding a hearing last March. And in the wake of the massive data breach at JP Morgan she called on Committee Republicans to make the issue an immediate priority.


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