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FTC Investigating Equifax

The Federal Trade Commission has confirmed that it has launched an investigation into credit reporting company/data broker Equifax over its massive data breach.

The company revealed last week that the information of 143 million Americans had been accessed, sending the Hill scrambling for answers, including Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) calling on the FTC to investigate.

"The FTC typically does not comment on ongoing investigations," said Peter Kaplan, the FTC’s acting director of Public Affairs. "However, in light of the intense public interest and the potential impact of this matter, I can confirm that FTC staff is investigating the Equifax data breach."

Related: Warner: Congress May Need to Rethink Cybersecurity

The information involved included "names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers," said the company, adding: "In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed."

The company said it discovered the breach on July 29 and immediately took steps to stop the breach and reported it to law enforcement. It also said there was no evidence that the breach involved its "core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases."

Warner's office had no comment at press time on the FTC's action.

The House will be holding a hearing Oct. 3 on the breach and some Democratic senators Thursday introduced a bill that would require Equifax and similarly situated companies to adopt a comprehensive cybersecurity plan.

(Photo via GotCredit’s flickr. Image taken on March 16, 2015 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit the 16x9 aspect ratio.)

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.