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Congress is failing consumers (CUJournal, March 11, 2019)

Monday, March 11, 2019  
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At the end of February, three hearings were held in Congress regarding privacy and consumer data. Issues such as how to protect it, how to use it, and how to empower consumers to understand what’s going with it were examined in great detail by experts from the worlds of business, academia and tech.

These are important discussions. Yet, the subject of merchant responsibility to do more to help wasn’t raised once.

Even at the House Financial Services Committee session featuring the transgressions of the three major credit bureaus, any mention of the retailer role in protecting data was conspicuously absent.

Why has Congress, after five years of inaction on data security, decided to move on and treat the issue as if nothing can be done to bring merchants to the table and do its part to help protect consumers when it comes to cybercrimes?

If the early days of the 116th Congress are any indication, there is a real danger that the issue of merchant responsibility will be put on the back burner and it will stay there unless credit unions and our allies do something and soon.

As president of the Defense Credit Union Council, an organization of 181 credit unions focused on the military community encompassing over 23 million consumers, protecting individual data is an everyday responsibility, and one that we value. Credit unions are legally obligated to adhere to high standards. Instead of looking at this as a burden, credit unions see it as part of our obligation to our members, one rooted in trust and security.

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