Attorney General Eric Holder wants Congress to act in the wake of data breaches against millions of holiday shoppers at Target and Neiman Marcus.
US Attorney General Eric Holder says, "Today, I'm calling on Congress to create a strong, national standard for quickly alerting consumers whose information may be compromised."
Holder pushed for the legislation in a video posted on the Justice Department's website.
The issue of customer notification became a priority when some victims complained they didn't know credit card numbers and other personal information was stolen until the media reported it.
46 states and the District of Columbia already have laws requiring public companies to notify customers of personal security breaches.
But the current notification requirements vary from state to state. Attorney General Holder says it would be better for consumers if Congress held all companies to a national standard.
"It would enable law enforcement to better investigate these crimes, and hold compromised entities accountable when they fail to keep sensitive information safe," says Holder.
Holder also says there should be exemptions for harmless breaches to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on businesses that act responsibly.
Last year, the estimated global cost of cybercrime was $113 billion dollars, affecting 378 million victims.