Equifax breach highlights need for stronger data security laws, tougher penalties

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Jessica Rich, vice president of consumer policy and mobilization at Consumer Reports, made the following statement about the massive data breach reported by credit monitoring company Equifax, which exposed personal data from an estimated 143 million Americans:

“The credit bureaus collect highly sensitive consumer data, including Social Security numbers and detailed credit histories, and they have a legal and ethical obligation to protect it. While it’s fine that Equifax is offering consumers free credit card monitoring, that’s just a Band-Aid. Companies need to take data security much more seriously so these breaches don’t happen in the first place. That’s why we need stronger data security laws with tougher penalties.”

For information on what consumers need to know about the Equifax breach, visit ConsumerReports.org

***

Contact: David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, 202-579-7935

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 7 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its policy and mobilization division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.