Written byPatrick Howell O'Neill
Equifax’s chief executive was formally invited Wednesday to testify Oct. 3 before Congress by top members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The invitation to Chairman and CEO Richard F. Smith comes less than a week after Equifax, a massive multinational credit reporting company, announced a data breach affecting up to 143 million Americans.
“We look forward to hearing directly from Mr. Smith on this unprecedented breach that has raised serious questions about the security of consumers’ personal information,” full committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta, R-Ohio, said in a statement. “We know members on both sides of the aisle appreciate Mr. Smith’s willingness to come before the committee and explain how our constituents might be impacted and what steps are being taken to rectify this situation.”
The committee has jurisdiction over the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, two of the agencies responsible for regulating data security.
Other federal lawmakers, including Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., have been highly vocal after the breach, calling for more transparency and accountability.
“Consumer confidence in a credit rating agency, like Equifax, is based on that company’s ability to do one job well: store data securely,” Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on IT, told CyberScoop on Tuesday. “Data is not just a byproduct of doing business, it is their business. And when a breach occurs, it shouldn’t take six weeks to alert consumers. When it comes to consumer protection, companies must adopt a ‘need-to-share’ mentality.”