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    The Hill: Rise in electronic payments sharpens security focus

    The Hill reports that businesses are making moves now on data security and privacy rather than waiting for Congress to act:

    Data breaches were thrust in the spotlight after hackers broke into the networks of retailers during last year’s holiday season. Lawmakers held a slew of hearings in the aftermath and many proposed legislation intended to ensure that consumers are warned promptly when their information is put at risk.

    But a legislative solution has a long way to go, as bill dealing with privacy must travel through several committees with jurisdiction, including three in the House alone. […]

    With action in Congress unlikely to happen soon, the nation’s largest retailers and financial groups are taking it upon themselves to increase safeguards for consumer information. With their reputations and business on the line, both industries are determined to make progress.

    “Customers are counting on everyone to keep their data safe and secure. It’s critical to recognize that the real enemy here is the hacker,” said Richard Hunt, the head of the Consumer Bankers Association, in an announcement of a massive collective spearheaded by the Financial Services Roundtable and the Retail Industry Leaders Association earlier this year.

    More than a dozen financial and merchant groups — including the National Restaurant Association, the American Bankers Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Electronic Transaction Association — have teamed up to work on data security. […]

    This year alone, there have been 33 breaches at businesses or financial institutions both large and small that compromised more than 1.1 million records. Those breaches came in the form of credit card fraud, exposure to hackers or unintended disclosure.

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