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    Retail/Financial Services Cybersecurity Proposals Released

    Recommendations unveiled at presidential summit

    Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) CEO Tim Pawlenty and Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) President Sandy Kennedy, co-chairs of the Merchant Financial Services Cybersecurity Partnership, released new recommendations to protect the payments system, at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, held Feb. 13 at Stanford University.

    "Ensuring consumers are protected from cybercriminals across the payments system is critical, and the merchant and the financial services industries need to continue to collaborate to enhance security measures and battle this common threat," noted Kennedy and Pawlenty.

    The recommendations cover ways that companies can use technology to reduce data theft and the value of payment information if it's stolen or breached, as well as calling for more collaboration in the development of technology standards to safeguard the payments systems. The partnership’s goals include fostering data sharing, proactively addressing emerging threats and sharing responsibility for protecting the payment's ecosystem.

    "We are encouraged that the [Obama] administration is pursuing a comprehensive approach and proposing the creation of new information-sharing and analysis organizations, where companies can share information about cyberthreats with the government and across sectors of the economy," said Matthew Shay, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation (NRF), another member association of the partnership.

    Shay added that President Obama's executive order, unveiled at the summit, "is very much in line with what we are already doing to identify, classify and disseminate intelligence on actual and potential cyberthreats to more than 150 of the best-known retail brands and companies, large and small. It is an acknowledgement that industries need more flexible and nimble information-sharing platforms to combat cyberthreats in the future."

    Last year, NRF established an information-sharing platform as a joint private/public partnership including alerts from both government and nongovernment sources.

    In addition to Arlington, Va.-based RILA and NRF, other retail trade organizations involved in the partnership are the Food Marketing Institute, the National Association of Convenience Stores and the National Grocers Association.

    Washington-based FSR represents the leading integrated financial services companies providing banking, insurance, payment and investment products and services to the American consumer.

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