Dave & Buster's Gets 20 Years In Gonzales Settlement

Dave & Buster's will spend the next 20 years under the watchful eye of the FTC, according to a consent agreement finalized this month. The Federal Trade Commission accused the entertainment restaurant chain of failing to protect the credit and debit card numbers of 130,000 customers after Albert Gonzalez and his associates hacked into the company's networks and stole their card numbers.

The FTC's probe found that D&B "engaged in a number of practices that, taken together, failed to provide reasonable and appropriate security for personal information on its computer networks."

Specifically, the FTC concluded that Dave & Buster's failed to:

  • "Employ sufficient measures to detect and prevent unauthorized access to computer networks or to conduct security investigations, such as by employing an intrusion detection system and monitoring system logs."
  • "Adequately restrict third-party access to its networks, such as by restricting connections to specific IP addresses or granting temporary, limited access."
  • "Monitor and filter outbound traffic from its networks to identify and block export of sensitive personal information without authorization."
  • Use "readily available security measures to limit access between in-store networks, such as by using firewalls or isolating the payment card system from the rest of the corporate network."
  • Use "readily available security measures to limit access to its computer networks through wireless access points on the networks."

    Interestingly enough, different sets of federal employees (FTC investigators, Justice Department and U.S. Attorney prosecutors, and three different federal judges) looking at this case from very different vantage points all arrived at roughly the same figure: 20 years. Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years and a day by the federal judges, while Dave & Buster's has been ordered to spend the next 20 years, until May 2030, making compliance reports back to the FTC.

    How circular: The feds are sharply inconveniencing both the victim and the perpetrator for the same 20 years. And who says the law doesn't have a sense of humor—and of the absurd.