Protect My Data
ProtectMyData is a consumer education campaign advocating for the implementation of chip and PIN technology for credit and debit cards. A chip and PIN-equipped card is embedded with a microchip and requires a unique PIN (Personal Identification Number) upon each point-of-sale transaction. The microchip coupled with the individual PIN make tampering and counterfeiting the cards, along with stealing financial data, nearly impossible. More than a decade ago, countries around the world began mandating chip and PIN technology, while the United States continues to lag behind. In fact, the U.S. is the last G20 nation to adopt chip-enabled cards.
President Obama’s administration has been at the forefront of this, adopting the President’s BuySecure Initiative in October 2014 which mandated all federally-issued payment cards be equipped with chip and PIN technology and introduced a series of proposals to safeguard against identity theft and improve consumer confidence. Since then, the federal government has supplied over 2.5 million chip and PIN payment cards, more than any other country in the world.
In October 2015, retailers and banks underwent a “liability shift,” whereby merchants across the country became responsible for upgrading their payment terminals to accept new chip-enabled credit and debit cards. In the event of a data breach or fraudulent financial activity, the burden now falls on whichever institution is using the lesser payment technology.
Depending on the source, there are now varying figures on how many chip-enabled credit cards have been issued to American consumers and how many new chip-enabled payment terminals have been installed across the country at retail locations.
While those figures are debated, one thing is certain – the private sector banks and other financial institutions have not implemented the much more secure chip and PIN technology – opting for the much less secure chip and signature method instead. They have even provided a litany of excuses ranging from the idea that credit cards will soon be replaced by mobile payments (although a sizeable chunk of the public doesn’t own a smartphone) to consumers are unable to remember a four-digit PIN code. Yet every day, consumers visit the ATM, log onto email and social network accounts, and shop online, successfully reciting PIN codes and passwords from memory. Studies have shown we use an average of eight passwords a day, with the capacity to remember even more. The unsubstantiated excuses that continue to challenge reasonable solutions for American consumers are foolish and tired. If the banks and credit card issuers are unwilling to do so willingly in the interests of consumers, then policymakers must encourage them to upgrade their technology to the strongest and most advanced data security system available: chip and PIN.
ProtectMyData seeks to urge U.S. financial institutions, banks, and credit card issuers to equip each and every one of their credit and debit cards with chip and PIN technology and finally provide consumers the security they deserve.
Who We Are
ProtectMyData was launched in 2015 by veteran consumer and industry issue expert Debra Berlyn. Ms. Berlyn is the President of Consumer Policy Solutions, a firm centered on developing public policies addressing the interests of consumers and the marketplace. With over two decades of experience as an advocate of consumers, Ms. Berlyn has cultivated strong partnerships with dozens of consumer groups across the country.
For more about Debra Berlyn click here.
In The News
- Fast Company, article, “Credit Card Security Still A Few Chips Short, Experts Say,” 3/8/16
- Debra Berlyn op-ed in Inside Sources, “Banks Should Give Consumers the Gift of Chip and PIN This Valentine’s Day,” 2/11/16
- Debra Berlyn op-ed in Re/Code, “Give Consumers the Gift of Chip-And-PIN This Holiday Season,” 12/14/16
- Debra Berlyn op-ed in Bangor Daily News, “Give Maine’s consumers the gift of chip and PIN cards this holiday season,” 11/22/15
- Executive Director of the Media and Telecommunications Project and Public Policy Institute for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Steve Smith’s op-ed in Huffington Post, 11/12/15
- Debra Berlyn op-ed in The Hill, “American families and businesses deserve chip and PIN cards,” 10/21/15
- Debra Berlyn op-ed in Roll Call, “The Case for Congressional Attention on Payment Security,” 8/11/2015
- Debra Berlyn in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazatte, “Dear U.S. banks, please protect us,” 7/6/2015
- Debra Berlyn op-ed in Fedscoop, “Now is the time for better payment security,” 5/21/2015
- Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP), DiverseTech, and Debra Berlyn joint letter to Congress, 4/30/2015
- MMTC and HTTP joint op-ed in The Hill, “Data breaches require PINs,” 4/30/2015
- DiverseTech Founder Jeremy White op-ed in The Roanoke Times, “Warner a leader on security; more just join,” 4/26/2015
- Debra Berlyn op-ed The Republican/ MassLive.com, “Elizabeth Warren leaves issue of payment card security on the table,” 4/3/2015
- Debra Berlyn op-ed in The Hill, “Banks must protect our data” 3/11/201
- Consumer Policy Solutions statement on the Senate Hearing on Data Security, 2/6/15
- Entropy Economics President Bret Swanson’s op-ed in ComputerWorld, 2/4/15
- Inside Sources on “Is Your Credit Card Security Taking a Backseat in Congress’ Data Security Legislation?” 1/28/15
- Washington Times editorial on “Chips off the block,” 1/19/15
- The Wall Street Journal on “Why New Credit Cards May Fall Short on Fraud Control,” 1/4/15
- Debra Berlyn was interviewed on CBN News, 12/22/14
- American Consumer Institute President Steve Pociask op-ed on CNBC, 12/5/14
- Debra Beryln’s op-ed published in InTheCapital, 12/5/14
- Consumer Policy Solutions’ Buzzfeed post on safeguarding credit cards during the holiday shopping season, 11/25/14
- CNBC on “The dysfunctional state of America’s credit cards,” 1/13/14
What Others Are Saying
“New approaches to authentication increasingly offer greater assurance and protection. Given the current technology that we have at our disposal, we should assess the continued use of signatures as a means of authenticating card transactions.” – Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell, Remarks by Governor Powell at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Conference, 6/25/2015
“Everybody is impacted by cyber-crime, a reminder that attacks pose harm to any institution or company that accept card payments. This is why it is essential that the financial industry work to provide consumers with the best technology available to combat fraud and prevent breaches. They need to join in the collaborative effort and embrace 21st Century ‘chip-and-PIN’ cards, and stop issuing misleading attacks.” – Former Attorney General of Massachusetts Martha Coakley, The Hill, 5/19/15
“Given the success of chip and PIN around the world, and its proven ability to reduce fraud, it is clear this technology is an important part of safeguarding the financial transactions millions of Americans make every day. Congress must not neglect this reality any longer.” – Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council’s Kim Keenan and Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership’s Rosa Mendoza, The Hill, 4/30/15
“ … [S]tarting next year, we’re going to begin making sure that credit cards and credit-card readers issued by the United States government come equipped with two new layers of protection: a microchip in the card that’s harder for thieves to clone than a magnetic strip, and a pin number you enter into the reader just as you do with an ATM. We know this technology works. When Britain switched to a chip-and-pin system, they cut fraud in stores by 70 percent. Seventy percent.” – President Barack Obama, Remarks by the President on Protecting American Consumers, 10/17/14
“… [W]hile chip-and-PIN safety features now will be required for credit and debit cards issued to federal agencies, I urge federal regulators to push harder to require banks and card-issuers to adopt better anti-fraud security features more widely for American consumers. Technologies like chip-and-PIN have resulted in significant reductions in fraud in many major G-20 countries, including the U.K. Yet despite a series of data breaches affecting hundreds of millions of American consumers in recent months, American card issuers and financial firms continue to issue and reissue less-secure signature cards.” – Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Press Release, 1/12/15
“It is … the responsibility of financial institutions and big banks to replace our outdated system, and thus far they have been slow to do so. … Without chip-and-PIN systems, small businesses and consumers in San Francisco will remain vulnerable to financial fraud and theft.” – Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco President and CEO Carlos Solórzano-Cuadra, San Francisco Gate, 1/5/15
“… [C]hip and PIN technology provides an added layer of security for card users that protect against hackers. Unlike current stripe cards and even chip-enabled cards that require a signature, chip and PIN cards cannot be cloned. This results in a strong frontline defense against cyber criminals who peddle stolen information, helping minimize financial fraud.” – Hispanic Leadership Fund President Mario H. Lopez, Fox News Latino, 11/17/14
“American consumers face mounting threats to their financial security that are more widespread and more sophisticated than ever before. The pervasiveness of hacking and insufficient technological protections has made every American a potential victim. It is time that the United States joins the rest of the world in upgrading our dated, insecure credit card security system and making chip and PIN technology standard practice.” American Consumer Institute President Steve Pociask, The Hill, 11/10/14
“Comprehensive protection comes in the form of chip and PIN technology, available in almost every other developed and many developing economies around the world. Chip and PIN, unlike the traditional signature method that is easily forged, offers a two-step verification process and is virtually impossible to clone, giving consumers the utmost protection.” – Citizen Action Illinois’ John Gaudette, Crain’s Chicago, 2/19/15