Saturday, February 25, 2006

Cardsystems settles with the FTC

The US Federal Trade Commission has settled its complaint against CardSystems after a breach at the company comproised the personal information for forty million credit and debit card users. The company had, against its agreement with the card-issuers, kept information related to transactions it was processing and failed to secure it adequately.

Somewhat oddly, the LA Times article says that the FTC could not levy any civil damages or penalties, as it did with ChoicePoint, without mentioning why.

CardSystems Settles Charges

From Associated Press

February 24 2006

WASHINGTON — A data breach that left 40 million customer accounts vulnerable to hackers will lead to tighter security measures to protect millions of credit and debit card users, Federal Trade Commission officials said Thursday.

CardSystems Solutions Inc. has settled charges that the company broke the law by failing to ensure adequate safeguards for sensitive customer information. The breach resulted in millions of dollars in fraudulent purchases, the commission said.

The settlement calls for better safeguards to protect consumer data.

The FTC could not seek civil penalties under the law it accused CardSystems of violating.

Atlanta-based CardSystems processed credit card and other payments for banks and merchants. Last summer, it was disclosed that tens of millions of mostly MasterCard and Visa accounts were exposed to possible fraud after a hacker broke into the company's computer system.

"CardSystems kept information it had no reason to keep and then stored it in a way that put consumers' financial information at risk," FTC Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras said.

CardSystems' assets have since been bought by San Francisco-based Pay by Touch. The settlement requires Pay by Touch to implement a comprehensive security program and obtain independent audits every other year for 20 years.

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