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WASHINGTON – The American Bankers Association has urged Congress to adopt a national policy on card security breaches and to base that policy for retailers and card data brokers on the regulations that are already in place for banks, thrifts and credit unions. “Banking institutions have a strong interest in protecting customer information,” said Oliver I. Ireland, partner in the law firm Morrison and Foerster, who testified on behalf of ABA. “Banks that fail to earn and to maintain the trust of their customers will lose those customers.” In order to provide meaningful and consistent protection for all consumers, Ireland said that all entities that handle sensitive consumer information – not just banking institutions – should be subject to similar security standards. For example, retailers, data brokers and even employers collect sensitive consumer information, but are not subject to data security and/or security breach notification requirements. “It is not necessary to design a completely new system to address the issue,” said Ireland. “The regulations that already apply to banking institutions offer policymakers both a model and a measure of experience to aid in establishing umbrella consumer protections that span all industries that maintain sensitive consumer information.”

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