Rockefeller Responds to Recent Data Security Incidents

September 4, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today released the following statement in response to reports that Home Depot may have suffered a significant data breach and that celebrities’ Apple iCloud accounts have been hacked.

“The Home Depot breach is the latest in a string of data security breaches that have put millions of consumers at risk of financial harm and exposed their sensitive personal information. The massive data breach is just one more example of the need for strong federal baseline consumer protections. This year, I asked Target, Neiman Marcus, Snapchat, and other breached entities to provide me with the details of their internal investigations, and I will ask Home Depot to provide the same full briefing.  And given the recent attacks on celebrity iCloud accounts, I also intend to ask Apple to brief my staff on the security protocols in place for its cloud databases. Apple is expected to introduce a new version of its iPhone that will enable, if not encourage, users to store more information with its cloud services, and I want to learn whether these focused, targeted attacks are symptomatic of wider, systemic vulnerabilities.”

For many years, Rockefeller has identified data breaches as a significant consumer protection and cybersecurity problem, and advocated for legislation to require companies to better safeguard their data and notify consumers when breaches occur.  Earlier this year, he introduced The Data Security and Breach Notification Act that would provide a federal standard for companies to safeguard consumers’ personal information throughout their systems and to quickly notify consumers if those systems are breached. In March, Rockefeller led a hearing titled, “Protecting Personal Consumer Information from Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches,” at which he released a report detailing Target’s massive data breach in 2013. The hearing also examined breaches at Neiman Marcus, White Lodging, Snapchat, and the University of Maryland.