Target data breach prompts new proposed legislation

Posted at: 12/23/2013 6:13 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Target credit card debacle has caught New Mexico without much in the way of state law to protect consumers from such a security breach – and key state lawmakers in both parties want to do something about it.

Rep. Bill Rehm (R – Albuquerque), and Sen. Bill O’Neill (D – Albuquerque)  - say that in New Mexico a business like Target is under no obligation to share information about the theft of their credit card data with consumers, or the state’s Attorney General.

The theft of data on 40 million credit and debit cards of Target shoppers from November 27 to December 15 includes many thousands of New Mexicans. Target disclosed the breach a day after the first news media reports surfaced – not good enough, Rehm and O’Neill say.

“We are one of only four states that do not have legislation such as this to protect your personal and credit card data,” Rehm said.  “Under this bill they have to notify you and the Attorney General within this state.”

“As we all know, in America we are innocent until proven guilty,” O’Neill said. “That is, unless you happen to be a victim of identity theft and then you have to prove your innocence.”

The lawmakers say that makes it more important to require businesses to quickly disclose  credit card breaches like the huge one at Target.

At least three class-action lawsuits have been filed against Target in other states, and in four states Attorney Generals are asking Target for crucial information – when did Target discover the data theft – and how long did they wait to disclose it?