Retail, Banking Groups Join Forces on Cybersecurity

With cybersecurity becoming a hot topic—and with potential solutions raising as many questions as they answer—the retail and banking industries have launched an effort to improve the dialogue.

The Obama administration wasn’t the only one making headlines on cybersecurity issues this week.

A day after the the White House announced its framework for helping the business sector deal with cybersecurity, the retail and banking industries—which haven’t seen eye to eye on security measures in the wake of the Target hacking incident last December—announced a new partnership to tackle the issue head-on.

The collaborative effort, spearheaded by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), will include financial organizations such as the American Bankers Association and the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), along with numerous business groups from the restaurant, lodging, grocery, and retail sectors.

The goal? The groups hope to improve information-sharing and card security as well as boost consumer confidence in payment systems—both the current ones and emerging technologies such as mobile payments. They may even collaborate on issues other than payments.

“We are committed to working together to ensure customer personal and financial information is secure and protected,” FSR CEO Tim Pawlenty said in a statement. “Exploring avenues for increased information sharing and collaborating on innovative technologies and safeguarding data will be critical in defending against common enemies.”

Retail and banking groups, even beyond the Target saga, have had a tough time finding common ground—an issue underlined by an ongoing legal battle over swipe fees. Despite that, the new coalition has at least one clear unifying goal.

“I think all of us have, in one way or another, called for a federal data breach notification law,” RILA Senior Vice President Brian Dodge told The Hill. “I think that is certainly a place where we all agree that the patchwork of 47 state laws doesn’t work particularly well, nor is it particularly efficient for the purposes that they want to accomplish.”

Nonetheless, there are still several things to clear up, including who pays to upgrade the payment systems currently in use, a potentially costly point of compromise for both industries.

What does the Obama cybersecurity framework mean for the coalition? It could work as an important reference point for the collaboration, Pawlenty told The Hill.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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