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Obama Issues Executive Order for Greater Data Security
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 6:10 AM

On Friday, President Barack Obama issued an executive order aimed at improving the security of consumer financial transactions.

"Given that identity crimes, including credit, debit, and other payment card fraud, continue to be a risk to U.S. economic activity, and given the economic consequences of data breaches, the United States must take further action to enhance the security of data in the financial marketplace," the order reads. "While the U.S. Government's credit, debit, and other payment card programs already include protections against fraud, the Government must further strengthen the security of consumer data and encourage the adoption of enhanced safeguards nationwide in a manner that protects privacy and confidentiality while maintaining an efficient and innovative financial system."

Obama's executive order lays out a timeline for increased cybersecurity measures to be taken by the government, as well as increased resources to consumers:

  • Government, executive departments, and agencies to transition payment-processing terminals and credit and debit cards to employ enhanced security features, including chip-and-PIN technology, with a plan to be developed by the U.S. Treasury by Jan. 1:

  • Credit and debit cards provided through General Services Administration contracts will be replaced by cards with enhanced security features no later than Jan. 1;

  • The attorney general, with the secretary of Homeland Security, will issue guidance to promote regular submissions of compromised credentials to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance's Internet Fraud Alert System by Feb. 15;

  • The U.S. Departments of Justice and Commerce and the Social Security Administration will begin to identify publicly available agency resources for victims of identity theft and provide the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that information no later than March 15;

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and GSA will assist the FTC in enhancing the IdentityTheft.gov website, including coordination with the credit bureaus to streamline the reporting and remediation process by May 15; and

  • Within 90 days of the date of this order, the National Security Council staff, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and OMB shall present to the president a plan, consistent with the guidance set forth in the 2011 National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, to ensure that all agencies making personal data accessible to citizens through digital applications require the use of multiple factors of authentication and an effective identity proofing process, as appropriate. Within 18 months of the date of this order, relevant agencies shall complete any required implementation steps set forth in the plan prepared pursuant to this section.