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Madigan Says Federal Government Should Investigate Data Breaches


CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Wednesday called for the formation of a new federal agency to investigate data breaches in much the same way the National Transportation Safety Board investigates plane and train crashes.

WBBM Newsradio's John Cody reports Madigan said the federal government lacks a single group to determine the extent of damage caused by a data breach, and come up with ways to fix them and prevent them in the future.

"It just makes sense that somebody has to take responsibility in this day and age for putting in place safety standards for our personal financial information, because otherwise you have disruption and a significant impact, potentially, to the overall marketplace," she said.

Madigan said data thieves are more likely to make online purchases with stolen private information in Chicago than Los Angeles or Miami.

She said it should be up to the federal government to investigate large-scale data breaches, just like the feds investigate airplane crashes.

"The NTSB comes in, and they do an investigation to determine what happened, to improve safety standards," she said. "So the idea would be something similar."

Madigan pointed to last year's data breach at Target stores, which exposed the private information of nearly 110 million American consumers amid the holiday shopping season. She said that breach caused a temporary 6 percent drop in sales.

She also said too many companies collect too much private information, and keep it too long, enhancing the risk of identity theft.

Madigan also expressed dismay that only one-third of identity theft victims do anything to protect themselves from further fraud.

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