A PCI compliance Web page

By Dan Berthiaume  |  Posted 2008-03-24 Print this article Print

So what is the answer to this informational dilemma? Since I'm pointing out the problem, I suppose I should at least suggest a solution. At least for now, I think the best answer would be to have retailers voluntarily allow the results of PCI compliance reports collected by major credit card companies to be made public. This could be accomplished simply by having credit card providers maintain a Web page with a list of retailers their acquiring banks have indicated are PCI-compliant.

This would not require creating any new oversight mechanisms and would not be too onerous a responsibility for the credit card companies, which could update their online lists every quarter. It also would certainly serve the interests of retailers who are PCI compliant, both in terms of increasing consumer confidence and of providing public evidence they did take responsible security steps in the event there is some type of breach and a lawsuit follows.

To read more about the Hannaford Bros. breach, click here.

If enough PCI-compliant retailers participated, it would furthermore create peer pressure for their non-compliant colleagues to take the necessary action to "get on the list."

This may not be the perfect solution, or even practical, but at least it is an attempt to get the industry thinking about ways to make PCI compliance a less opaque subject.

The other aspect of PCI compliance that needs to be publicized is the fact that no set of security standards can guarantee against theft or fraud. As RSR Research analyst Steve Rowen commented to eWEEK, PCI compliance is simply evidence that retailers are using business tools to protect customer information. Unfortunately, in the Information Age, that is about as close to a sure thing as consumers are going to get when it comes to guarding their personal data.

Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.



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