Senate Dems expand data breach probe

Sens. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerHumorless politics a sad sign of our times Bottom Line World Health Day: It's time to fight preventable disease MORE (D-W.Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect Giuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri MORE (D-Mo.) are widening their inquiry into companies whose users’ personal or financial data was stolen.

The lawmakers sent letters to Yahoo, Michaels and the hotel management company White Lodging on Tuesday, after the three companies had announced that they may have been the victim of hackers.

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They asked for briefings about the extent of the attack and how the companies are responding.

“We have been advocates for data security and breach notification legislation that would better protect consumers and improve corporate responsibility,” the two wrote. “The recent data security incidents that have affected major corporations … demonstrate the need for such federal legislation.”

Rockefeller is the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. McCaskill leads its subcommittee on Consumer Protection.

Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have expressed their concern about data breaches as reports have emerged that an ever-growing number of popular retailers have been attacked. Many say that a new law may be necessary to ensure companies keep high security standards and notify consumers if they have been hacked.

McCaskill and Rockefeller previously sent a letter to Target executives asking about its data breach, which affected as many as 110 people late last year. 

An official from Target said he was “deeply sorry” for the hack in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, where a Neiman Marcus executive also testified. Officials from the companies will appear in a House subcommittee on Wednesday.