Partnership sends letter to Congress outlining cybersecurity information sharing legislation principles

December, 4 2014 - Arlington, VA - Today, the Merchant Financial Cyber Partnership announced the next steps for the two industries to continue working together to strengthen the security of the payments system. Launched in February, the Partnership has succeeded in its goal to work collaboratively across the payments system to enhance security in order to protect customers and their data from cyber threats. Strong and productive relationships have been formed across the merchant and financial industries throughout the course of the Partnership’s work and both industries will continue to maintain these relationships.

“This Partnership has been invaluable in ensuring the entire payments system and key stakeholders are working together to combat cyber attacks,” said Sandy Kennedy, Co-Chair of the Partnership and President of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). “The threat posed by cyber criminals is increasingly sophisticated and is not unique to any one business, institution, industry or government. It is imperative that our two industries continue to learn from each other in this fight and work together in order to maintain the trust of our customers and collaboratively improve overall security.”

“Collaboration between our industries and with law enforcement will help protect consumers from cyber criminals,” said Co-Chair of the Partnership and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) Tim Pawlenty. “This Partnership has formed key links between our industries and we are hopeful these relationships will improve the entire payment system.”

The Partnership released eight next steps for ongoing collaboration by Partnership participants in key areas including threat information sharing, cyber risk mitigation, advanced card present & card not present security technology and cybersecurity legislation.  One of the major steps is a joint effort between the two industries to urge Congress to pass cyber threat information sharing legislation.

Today, the Partnership sent a letter to Congress outlining joint principles for legislation to enhance cybersecurity across both the merchant and financial industries. Both industries recognize better information sharing between and among industry and government is important in preventing cyber attacks. In the letter, the merchant and financial services communities expressed support for a set of principles for federal legislation that would increase the current level of voluntary cybersecurity information sharing, while recognizing key privacy concerns.

The Partnership brought together executives from the financial services and merchant industries, government and other stakeholders to work together on key public policy issues impacting the entire payment ecosystem. Since February, the Partnership’s 250 participating senior executives from financial services and merchant companies have met nearly 50 times, heard from over 45 experts and participated in numerous outreach events including the 2014 Merchant-Financial Services Cybersecurity Summit on Sept 10, and sought consensus on critical policy issues.

Participants in the Partnership include eight financial associations (American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Electronic Transactions Association, Financial Services Forum, Financial Services Roundtable, Independent Community Bankers of America, The Clearing House, NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association) and eleven merchant associations (American Hotel and Lodging Association, Food Marketing Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, International Franchise Association, Merchant Advisory Group, National Association of Chain Drug Stores, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation, Retail Industry Leaders Association), executives from financial institutions, card companies, and merchants