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 (Bob) MenendezWilliam Barr is right man for the times This week: Trump delivers State of the Union amid wall fight BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president MORE (N.J.), Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (N.Y.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSchiff: Evidence of collusion between Trump campaign, Russia 'pretty compelling' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears Steel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs 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.