Does the PCI DSS reduce crime?

Today I listened to the podcast of the hearing before the House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology on the topic of “Do the Payment Card Industry Data Standards Reduce Cybercrime?”

Lots of the testimony was very predictable.

  • The PCI SSC stuck to their position that no PCI DSS compliant organization has ever suffered a data breach, and dodged questions about exactly how much feedback on the standard from banks and merchants they’ve actually listened to.

  • Visa stuck to their position that lots of issues with the PCI DSS aren’t their problem because they’re really issues between merchants and acquiring banks.

  • Retailers complained about the cost of complying with the PCI DSS. They also want increased security in the form of smart cards, and they want the credit card brands to pay for it.

  • The PCI SSC and Visa dodged the question about metrics that indicate success or failure of the PCI DSS by saying that’s information that acquiring banks need to track.

To her credit, the Chair of the Subcommittee, Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), did seem concerned that the costs of complying with the PCI DSS are significant yet there is no data available that shows that the PCI DSS is actually having any measurable benefits. Acquiring banks have that information. They should probably be more forthcoming with it.

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