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Mr. Smith goes to Washington: Former Equifax CEO testifies before House committee

05 October 2017

Before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing began, a young person put on a black top hat, bushy white mustache and bright red bow tie.

Walden's questions of frustration and bewilderment is just a glimpse into the roughly three-hour hearing presided over by Republicans and Democrats in the House Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee.

Earlier this month, the credit reporting company announced that crucial, identifying information belonging to almost half the country may have been compromised, including birth dates, home addresses and Social Security numbers.

Smith said security personnel noticed suspicious activity on July 29 and disabled the web application on July 30, ending the hacking.

The firm has since been slapped with multiple lawsuits and probes by a number of U.S. states, Congress and the Justice Department. "Most Americans really don't know how much information" the companies have, Schakowsky said.

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According to Equifax, only about 8,000 Canadian customers were affected as a consequent of the high-profile breach of their cyber data.

In the weeks since September 7, when Equifax first disclosed the compromise, a number of key leaders have left the company.

The total number of people affected by the recent Equifax breach has risen after more details came to light. According to the firm biography, she counsels the corporate board, senior executives and other clients regarding data breach prevention, emergency response, remediation, compliance, regulatory enforcement, internal corporate investigations and addresses other critical privacy and data security concerns. But he said, "I don't think I can pass a law that, excuse me for saying, fixes stupid".

Warren said this business mix creates a conflict of interest by making Equifax responsible for protecting consumer data while allowing it to profit from consumers' attempts to mitigate the breach.

"The company has been around for 118 years and for most of those 118 years has done good things", Smith said.

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But the committee didn't forget the ultimate outcome of the breach: The personal data genie can't go back in the bottle. On Monday, Equifax announced Mandiant completed its forensic investigation and revised the number of people impacted by the hack.

Smith also made at least one obvious error, first confirmed by Ron Lieber at the New York Times - that security freezes require bureaus to mail a PIN code to consumers, which can create days or weeks long delays.

Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) said modern online existence is nearly impossible to navigate without exposing your personal information. Representative Gene Green said that the company ought to be "shut down", comparing it to a restaurant that failed regular health inspections.

Lawmakers said that at one point Equifax tweeted the wrong link for consumers to check to learn if they were part of the breach.

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Mr. Smith goes to Washington: Former Equifax CEO testifies before House committee