Obama Pushes for Increased Cyber Protection

Image: Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offices at the Constitution Center in Washington, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, about his plan to improve confidence in technology by tackling identify theft and improving consumer and student privacy. The president wants Congress to pass legislation requiring companies to inform customers within 30 days if their data has been hacked, a move that follows high-profile breaches at retailers including Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)Carolyn Kaster / AP

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President Barack Obama on Monday called for greater protection for Americans digital information, citing a number of high-profile cyber attacks that have showcased how vulnerable consumers’ privacy can be when shopping online.

“This is a direct threat to the economic security of American families and we have to stop it,” Obama said in a speech at the Federal Trade Commission. “If we’re going to be connected, then we need to be protected.”

The president is asking Congress to pass legislation that would require companies to notify customers if their personal information has been hacked within 30 days of when the breach is discovered.

Retailers like Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus have fallen victim to cyber attacks that potentially exposed customers financial information. The president also referenced the recent hack of Sony as evidence of how vulnerable American companies are on the web.

The president will address cyber security in his State of the Union address on Jan. 20. His legislative proposal will also include protections for student data.

“We pioneered the Internet, but we also pioneered the Bill of Rights,” Obama said.

-- Andrew Rafferty