DMA Calls for Strong Measures on Data Security; Reiterates Call for Legislation; Forms Data Stewardship Council
June 22, 2006 — Any time there is a loss of information that can be used to commit fraud or identity theft, it raises concerns for all organizations that collect and use such data for legitimate business purposes. Several high profile breaches in recent weeks underscore the need for vigilance when it comes to data security and stewardship.
"Even the most well-meaning and responsible of organizations can be vulnerable to security breaches," notes Direct Marketing Association President & CEO John A Greco, Jr. "Today, DMA is calling on the federal government, its own membership, and everyone in the direct marketing community to take the necessary steps to safeguard the personal data that drives the information economy."
In recent years, DMA has issued member guidelines on responsible data stewardship and worked closely with the Federal Trade Commission to develop a checklist of broad security procedures that marketers are encouraged to follow.
Data Stewardship Council Established
To further promote responsible data security within the greater direct marketing community, DMA is pleased to announce the formation of a new Data Stewardship Council.
The mission of the new DMA council is to educate marketers on the responsible use of data and develop best practices and other tools that will help marketers better manage consumer information. The Council will be co-chaired by Ben Isaacson, privacy & compliance leader, Experian, and Christine Frye, EVP & Chief Privacy Officer, Countrywide Financial Institution.
Calls for Federal Legislation
DMA also recognizes that creating a secure online marketplace will require steps beyond what we can require within its own membership. To that end, DMA is calling for the immediate passage of legislation that will create a national standard for the safeguarding of sensitive information and the prompt notification of consumers when compromised data puts them at risk for identity theft.
It is DMA's belief that such legislation should: focus on information that can be used to steal a consumer's identity; require consumer notification when there has been a significant security breach involving such data; and strengthen law enforcement capabilities to identify and prosecute data thieves both here and abroad.
In addition, DMA said it is important that such legislation be crafted in ways that will protect companies' access to the data they need to reduce fraud by verifying the identities of consumers with whom they do business.
"The responsible exchange of data allows Americans to enjoy the quickest and most convenient consumer transactions in the world," added Greco. "But in order to maintain consumer trust, government and industry must work together. We have to ensure that the personal data that makes electronic transactions possible is vigorously protected against theft, fraud or unauthorized use."
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