Financial industry spars with retailers over data breach bill

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The financial services industry is ratcheting up its support of legislation that would set nationwide data security standards and require businesses to notify customers following a breach.

{mosads}The push coincides with an annual advocacy gathering of retailers, who oppose the bill. The National Retail Federation is hosting its annual Retail Advocates Summit in Washington, D.C., this week.

The bill, from Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and John Carney (D-Del.), would set requirements modeled after those governing the financial sector.

“Financial institutions have had this obligation for 15 years, and it’s long overdue for Congress to pass legislation ensuring that everyone has a similar mandate to keep customer data safe,” Jason Kratovil, vice president of government affairs for payments at the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), said Monday.

The FSR, along with six other financial services trade associations, are making a “significant” ad buy targeting Capitol Hill this week.

But retailers have long argued that applying banking security rules on non-banking industries would create unnecessary regulation.

“It makes no sense to take one industry’s regulations and apply it to a large segment of the economy without understanding the consequences,” the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), one of the sector’s largest trade groups, argued in an April letter to House leadership opposing the bill.

Groups from both industries and both parties in Congress have long agreed that federal data breach notification standards are badly needed. Right now, companies deal with a confusing, costly and time-consuming patchwork of 47 state laws.

But all parties have fought over the details.

Retailers last year offered their support to a competing bill from the Energy and Commerce Committee that almost made it through the lower chamber.

The legislation was bogged down by a partisan scuffle over whether the law would preempt existent state regulations, however, and Neugebauer put forth his legislation when the measure stalled.

The staffs of both committees have discussed combining the two bills into a single offering supported by both. Neugebauer — who is retiring at the end of this Congress — indicated earlier in the year that he intended to push forward with the discussions this spring.

The Texas Republican’s bill — advanced by the House Financial Services Committee in December — has a companion measure from Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in the upper chamber.

–Updated 1:18 p.m.

Tags Randy Neugebauer Roy Blunt Tom Carper

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