Dems call for hearings in wake of Target data theft

A trio of Democratic senators are calling for congressional hearings into the massive data breach at Target retail stores.

In a letter to the heads of the Senate Banking Committee, they said that the illicit access of credit and debit card data for roughly 40 million Americans nationwide proves the need for a prompt Washington inquiry into the safety of consumer financial data. Sens. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezCarson likely to roll back housing equality rule Live coverage: Tillerson's hearing for State Booker to join Foreign Relations Committee MORE (N.J.), Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerTop Dem comes out against Tillerson ahead of key vote Democrats and the boycott of Trump's inauguration The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (N.Y.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Decaying DC bridge puts spotlight on Trump plan Overnight Cybersecurity: Dems split on Manning decision | Assange looking to make deal MORE (Va.), all members of that panel, signed on to the letter.

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“As companies collect, store, and process ever-greater quantities of consumer data, they — and our regulators — must become even more vigilant against breaches and improper use,” they wrote.

Target announced earlier this month that millions of Americans’ financial data was compromised after a massive data breach spanning much of the holiday shopping season.

The senators said the event should drive questions from Congress about whether companies are taking all the needed steps to protect customer information, and whether lawmakers need to consider passing stricter cybersecurity standards. 

They also want to hear from financial regulators on what tools they have to fight such tech-savvy thieves, and how they are working with financial companies to fight such breaches, and minimize any resulting damage.