Cybersecurity, data privacy top retailers' 2014 agenda

The massive card breach that cost Target, Michaels and other retailers millions of dollars is likely what fueled new policy goals from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

Cybersecurity and data privacy are two of RILA's top priorities, as detailed in its 2014 Public Policy Agenda: Retailers Strengthening Communities. "The retail industry takes the threat of cyberattacks seriously and works diligently every day to stay ahead of these sophisticated adversaries. Retail companies individually and the industry collectively, are making substantial investments in the technology and experts needed to aggressively counter these threats," RILA President Sandy Kennedy wrote in a Roll Call op-ed piece.

To combat cybersecurity attacks, retailers are utilizing encryption, tokenization, and redundant internal controls, Kennedy wrote.

"RILA remains committed to increased engagement with relevant federal agencies and state and federal policymakers to encourage advanced cybersecurity solutions that meet the needs of the retail industry and consumers, including the transition from outdated magnetic stripe technology to the more secure chip and PIN cards, and creating a trusted forum through which retailers can share cyber threat information," RILA said in a statement.

However, retailers need help from everyone in the payments ecosystem, according to Kennedy. "To effectively address today's cybersecurity challenges, we must work collaboratively with the card networks and issuing banks and credit unions to ensure that the system is made as secure as possible while giving customers access to the payment choices they prefer. It is our view that the responsibility for security should be shared, but we know that if we don't collaborate to secure these systems and consumer confidence wanes, we will all share in the loss," she wrote.

Another major legislative priority of RILA is to "level the playing field between online and Main Street retailers as it relates to sales tax collection," according to the statement. "Outdated laws governing sales tax collection give online-only sellers an unfair advantage over Main Street retailers. This loophole creates a perceived price advantage, distorting the market and threatening Main Street jobs," the statement said.

For more:
-See this RILA statement
-See this Roll Call op-ed

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