From the Office of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte

For Immediate Release
November 24, 2008
Contact: Tiffany Champion, (512) 463-0126

Senator Van de Putte and Representative Elkins to file legislation to protect consumer credit card information

(AUSTIN, TX) -- Today, November 24, 2008, Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) and Representative Elkins (R-Houston) filed legislation to protect consumer information.

Senate Bill 327 and House Bill 345 require businesses who accept or store credit or debit card information to protect sensitive data using the Plastic Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Businesses that accept plastic cards agree to follow PCI DSS when they sign up for Mastercard or Visa, but many merchants are not compliant. Failing to adhere to security standards such as PCI DSS leaves consumer information open to hackers, which contributed to the largest security breach in history at TJ Max stores.

The bills would hold merchants who are not in compliance liable for losses, should a data security breach be the result of their negligence.

"It's very scary knowing that my credit card information isn't safe. People think that buying in person, at a store, is safer than over the phone or internet, but the TJ Max breach just proves that merchants are not taking the necessary measures to prevent credit card theft," said Van de Putte.

"Hackers have stolen millions by making fraudulent credit and debit card transactions, compromising the personal information of Texans. If a company is negligent in protecting a Texan's personal information, they should be held responsible," said Elkins.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to do more for Texas consumers," Van de Putte added.