Richard F. Smith, Equifax's chief executive, apologized for the breach in an op-ed published by USA Today earlier this week. “This is the most humbling moment in our 118-year history,” he said. But his promises to make changes at the company were not enough for many alarmed lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
At least two congressional hearings on the Equifax breach have been announced. The first scheduled panel will take place on Oct. 3, when Smith is expected to testify. A bipartisan group of 36 senators have asked the Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate reports Equifax executives sold stock after learning about the breach but before it was made public. The Federal Trade Commission took the unusual step of announcing it is conducting a probe into the Equifax breach.
A major frustration for consumers who've sought to protect themselves from the Equifax data breach has been having to pay for freezing and unfreezing their credit, as a precaution against fraud. On Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and a dozen other Democrats introduced a bill that would ban credit reporting bureaus such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion from charging consumers for the service.
Equifax said in its statement the company would offer free security freezes through Nov. 21.
But that is unlikely to satisfy the demands of some elected officials.
“It’s only right that the CEO and board step down if they can’t reach this modicum of corporate decency by next week,” he said.