Sen. Menendez Says FTC Needs to Issue Penalties for Security Breaches

After the Target breach last week, Sen. Bob Menendez told NJTV News Senior Correspondent Desiree Taylor that he intends to introduce legislation to give the Federal Trade Commission the power to issue penalties and fines when security breaches occur.

Menendez said that he wants to know if the Federal Trade Commission has the ability to give out penalties and fines for breaches, such as the Target breach, and if they do not have the power, Menendez would like introduce that legislation.

“The reason I want to do that is very simple. If a company knows that there are significant fines and penalties for security breaches that they could have prevented by the investment in the technological infrastructure, to ensure that the breach can’t take place, to have the greatest security and don’t make that investment, then there should be a consequence to it,” Menendez said.

He said that the breaches can hurt consumers by extra charges being made on their accounts, their credit history can be impacted, and the fact that they have to deal with getting everything resolved. Menendez said that the consumer’s pin numbers may have been acquired by the hackers and it can be very consequential if the consumer uses the same pin number for other information that they might have.

“The consumer really has to depend upon their government to protect them from my point of view. So we have introduced legislation,” Menendez said. An example of legislation that has been introduced that he gave is when consumers buy a prepaid card but do to know about extra fees that they may be charged to activate it and to check the balance. Menendez said in that case, people need to know what they are getting themselves into before they purchase things like prepaid cards.

Another example Menendez gave is when purchasing online, there should be a page that says what extra charges there will be, before the consumer hits the final purchase button.

“I think these are ways in which consumers are protected and a fairness and balance is brought to the commercial enterprises that are taking place,” Menendez said.

When asked about the unemployment insurances benefits, Menendez said, “My goal is to see employment rise and not have to have unemployment insurance benefits. While we are seeing the economy grow, it’s still not taking place fast enough to offer the number of jobs to people who might be looking for a job. When we enter into 2014, two million citizens, who will still not be able to find a job will find themselves with their unemployment benefits expiring.”

Menendez said that the first order of business in January that the senate leader has called for is to have votes for unemployment insurance extension and to look at minimum wage.