Blumenthal calls for investigation of Target data breach

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate a recent data breach by the Target Corporation.

“I write to urge you to immediately open an investigation into Target Corporation’s recent reported data security breach,” Blumenthal wrote Sunday in a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “If Target failed to adequately and appropriately protect its customers’ data, then the breach we saw this week was not just a breach of security; it was a breach of trust.”

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Blumenthal’s request came after reports last week that as many as 40 million Target customers’ credit and data card information was exposed. He said the FTC has jurisdiction to investigate companies’ privacy and security policies.

“If Target failed to adequately protect customer information, it denied customers the protection that they rightly expect when a business collects their personal information,” Blumenthal wrote. “Its conduct would be unfair and deceptive, and it would clearly violate the FTC Act.”

Blumenthal said if hackers and thieves use the breached information to steal a costumers’ identity, their good credit could be ruined. He said the FTC should have more jurisdiction to penalize and sanction companies for such failures and that he would try to pass legislation giving the Commission more power.

“The FTC should be able to respond to breaches like this with penalties commensurate to the potential harm,” Blumenthal wrote. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Congress and with the Commission to ensure that the Commission has all the sanction authority it needs to carry out its mission effectively.”