On October 17, President Barack Obama signed an executive order expanding data security protections for federal government transactions, and inserted the White House into Congressional debates on data security.

The executive order, most importantly, requires federal agencies to switch to payment cards using secure chip and PIN technology (and urges the private sector to move that way quickly). The lack of that technology in the U.S. has been highlighted as a key vulnerability facilitating several of the big data security breaches in the past year.

As he announced the new requirements, the President also renewed his call for Congress to pass national data security legislation. "Congress needs to do its part... It is time to have one clear national standard that brings certainty to businesses and keeps consumers safe."

MRA shares the President's interest in a federal standard for data security, to replace the patch-work of conflicting state legislation. Multiple bills in the House and Senate (including S. 1927, S. 1897, S. 1976, S. 1995, S. 1193, and  H.R. 1468) have not advanced, and none are likely to become law before the end of this Congress at the end of 2014. However, MRA will continue to advocate on the hill for consensus legislation that protects consumers and the interests of the survey, opinion and marketing research profession.

President Obama made the top 10 list of government players in consumer privacy in 2014.