Richard Smith, former Chairman and CEO of Equifax, faced his third congressional hearing in two days, appearing this afternoon before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Privacy, Technology, and the Law Subcommittee to discuss the recently revealed Equifax data breach and efforts to monitor data broker cybersecurity.
In a departure from the previous Equifax hearings, members of the committee were more reserved in their criticism of the consumer credit agency, adopting a stern but not aggressive tone on both sides of the aisle. Ranking Member Al Franken (D-MN) also broke from the pattern of previous hearings by addressing not only the consumer protection implications of the breach but national security concerns as well.
Another dissimilarity with previous Equifax hearings was the subcommittee’s decision to feature a second panel of expert witnesses instead of focusing its attention solely on Smith. In the second witness panel, subcommittee members heard from Jamie Winteron, the Director of Strategic Research Initiatives at Arizona State University’s Global Security Initiative, and Tyler Moore, an assistant professor of cybersecurity and information assurance at the University of Tulsa’s Tandy School of Computer Science.
The Judiciary subcommittee’s relatively subdued tone and focus on industry experts likely reflects the members’ desire to use the hearing to arrive at a substantive solution rather than to pile on the chorus of voices criticizing Equifax. Nevertheless, Smith will appear one more time before Congress this week at a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday morning.