House Dems demand answers from Equifax CEO

House Dems demand answers from Equifax CEO
© Greg Nash

Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are demanding answers from the CEO of Equifax about the company’s data breach that left the personal information of 143 million people exposed.

All 24 minority members of the committee signed a letter to the Equifax executive, Richard Smith, calling on him to come forward with more information about his handling of the crisis.

"We are writing with serious concerns about the immense scale of this data breach, and we have a number of questions about whether Equifax took appropriate steps to safeguard the personal information of consumers," the letter reads. "We also have concerns about the amount of time it took for Equifax to notify the public of the breach and about the way Equifax is providing information to consumers."

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Meredith Griffanti, an Equifax spokeswoman, promised that the company would be "responsive" to lawmakers.

 
"We are remaining focused on and listening to the issues that consumers are experiencing, and their suggestions are helping to further inform our actions," Griffanti said in a statement.
 
Equifax announced last Thursday that the breach had occurred from mid-May through July, affecting nearly half the U.S. population, with sensitive information like Social Security numbers stolen. More than 200,000 people had their credit card numbers exposed.

The group of Democrats, led by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the committee’s ranking member, included a list of 16 questions in its letter to Smith. The members demanded information about the credit agency’s security protocols and its efforts to help consumers following the breach.

“Why did it take Equifax more than a month to announce this massive data breach?” the letter asks.

Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) plans to hold a hearing on the breach and the minority members asked Smith to answer the questions prior to that.