NRF Issues Industry-Wide Directive Regarding Data Security, Calls For Chip and PIN

The National Retail Federation has issued a statement addressing recent security breaches and its efforts to help retailers be better protected in the future. 

"We believe it is critically important to share with you some information related to the issue of data theft, particularly in light of the most recent, high-profile media coverage of the criminal fraud committed against retail customers," said Mallory Duncan, NRF senior vice president and general counsel.

The NRF Board of Directors met on January 12 and they are unanimous in their support and direction for a proactive and sustained campaign that will help address the issue, identify solutions, and protect retail customers and the industry's employees.

As long as cards are issued with signatures and magnetic stripes, card users are susceptible to data theft.

The trade association is recommending immediate steps:

The safest card has both a chip in the card and use of a PIN number – which is currently widely used in Europe. Unlike signatures, PINs can be encrypted, so that even if the data is grabbed, as it was in the most recent case, it is still essentially useless to the thieves.

A Federal cyber law so that the commercial sector can quickly share information about the latest threats and a comprehensive plan for law enforcement that ensures that these crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.

One Federal breach notification law versus 47 different state laws. This would allow retailers to focus their resources on complying with a single law and enable consumers to know their rights, regardless of where they live.

In the days ahead, the NRF will be working with retailers large and small, policy makers, trade associations, consumer protection advocates, law enforcement and other stakeholders to coordinate and advance a campaign that will ultimately result in consumer data protection.

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