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 MenendezThe right person for State Department is Rudy Giuliani Warren, Menendez question shakeup at Wells Fargo Democrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal MORE (N.J.), Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape Anti-Defamation League: Ellison's past remarks about Israel 'disqualifying' Dems press Trump to keep Obama overtime rule MORE (N.Y.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerThis Week in Cybersecurity: Dems press for information on Russian hacks Overnight Cybersecurity: Last-ditch effort to stop expanded hacking powers fails Intel Dems push for info on Russia and election be declassified 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.