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Retailers urge Congress to boost consumer protections in data breaches

Retail group asks Congress to tighten consumer protection in data breaches

The world's largest retail trade group urged Congress to tighten consumer protections for data breaches that have plagued retailers and other companies in recent years.

In testimony before a congressional subcommittee on technology, David French of the National Retail Federation on Wednesday said the government should expand liability protection for people using debit cards, pass a nationwide notification law that will inform all parties handling sensitive data in the event of a breach, and boost the prosecution of cybercriminals.

"We should not be satisfied with simply determining what to do after a data breach occurs," said French, the group's senior vice president for government relations.

The push by the National Retail Federation comes at a time when many corporations -- including Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus -- have been targeted by hackers plundering customer information.

As a safeguard, some U.S. retailers have said they will adopt debit and credit cards with embedded microchips, already used in many other countries, in place of cards with magnetic strips that store personal information, which can be more easily counterfeited.

Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ByShanLi

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