Congress asks Target to testify on data breach

BY Bridget Bowman  January 14, 2014 at 2:27 PM EST
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Senators are asking Target information security officials to testify before Congress over the recent data breach. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Senators are calling Target officials to testify on Capitol Hill over the recent holiday data breach that affected millions of Americans.

Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va, wrote to Target’s president and CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel, asking that the company’s information security officials testify before Congress. The letter was dated Jan. 10, but released Tuesday. MacCaskill chairs the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection while Rockefeller chairs the Senate Commerce Committee.

“We have been advocates for data security and breach notification legislation that would better protect consumers and improve corporate responsibility,” wrote the senators. “Target’s recent incident demonstrates the need for such federal legislation….We expect that your security experts have had time to fully examine the cause and impact of the breach and will be able to provide the Committee with detailed information.”

The data breach occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013, and could have even broader effects on loyalty programs for other stores. Experts are now speculating that customers may be less willing to sign up for credit and debit cards that are specific to a store, such as Target’s “REDcard.” Signing up for these loyalty programs often involves sharing personal information.

“Consumers definitely already have concerns about sharing data,” said Emily Collins, an analyst with Forrester Research. “From a consumer perspective, perception is the reality,” she said. “Consumers generally are most concerned about phishing scams and their identity being stolen.”

Read the full letter to Target below: