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Retailers and US financial services group form cyber security partnership

Retailers and US financial services companies have revealed they will form a partnership in a bid to reduce the frequency of data breaches and the theft of sensitive customer information. The US Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Financial Services Roundtable are the prime movers behind the move.  

The two retail and bank factions have been at loggerheads in recent months over which industry should take responsibility for hacks and breaches, following the Target data breach and many other such instances. The US Congress is also looking into the feasibility of speeding up the American rollout of chip and PIN technology to fight the perceived threat. 

The announcement of planned cooperation is the first sign that the two groups may be ready to overcome past differences and attempt to resolve the problems that have enabled numerous incidents, such as the Michaels breach, to take place in recent times.

A number of trade associations, including the lead Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Financial Services Roundtable, said the planned US partnership, which is in its early stages, will focus on the increased sharing of information, the development of technology to protect customers, and the discussion of areas of disagreement between the two sectors.

Tim Pawlenty, chief executive of the Financial Services Roundtable, said exploring new avenues for information sharing and collaboration will be "critical" when it comes to defending against "common enemies". 

By Tony Aynsley and Neil Ainger