Congress Goes After PlayStation

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After Sony's PlayStation Network got hacked, losing millions of credit card numbers, Congress is investigating the data breach and Sony's response to it.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) convened a hearing of her Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, and had asked Sony to testify in Washington.

Sony declined to send a representative, instead submitting an eight-page letter responding to the subcommittee's 13 written questions, which sought to ascertain how the breach happened, how many credit card numbers were lifted, who was responsible, and whether Sony responded appropriately.

"Sony now faces a large-scale cyber-attack involving the theft of personal information. This cyber-attack came shortly after Sony Computer Entertainment America was the subject of denial of service attacks launched against several Sony companies and threats made against both Sony and its executives in retaliation for enforcing intellectual properaty rights in U.S. Federal Court," wrote Kazuo Hirai, chairman of the board of directors for Sony Computer Entertainment America in his letter to the subcommittee:

050411Hirai

Bono Mack intends to ask Sony, once again, to testify before the committee, according to a senior staffer.

"They missed a great opportunity to be at the hearing, and not only to explain what happened, but also to explain why ... new safety procedures were not in place already," said Ken Johnson, a longtime committee staffer and senior adviser to Bono Mack.

Bono Mack is drafting a data-security bill, seeking to implement standards for protecting this kind of information, and Johnson said Sony's massive data breach has affected the drafting of the bill. As the bill moves forward, Johnson predicted Bono Mack would follow up with Sony in writing and, permitting enough time for another hearing, ask the company once again to appear in person.

"Aside from declining to testify personally, Sony has been cooperating with us," Johnson said. "If they take a pass a second time around, my suggestion to them is: duck."

If the subcommittee doesn't get the answers it wants from Sony, Johnson said Bono Mack is open to issuing a subpoena.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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