PCI Security Council seeks industry comments on current standards

Feedback will be considered for next version of PCI executive says

The group that administers the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) wants feedback about how the current version of the standard, released last October, is working.

Retailers, financial institutions and others in the payment industry will be able to submit online comments between July 1 and Nov. 1 about how to improve the PCI DSS 1.2 standard, the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC) said this week. Over the next few months, the PCI SSC will hold two "community meetings" -- one in the U.S., the other in Europe -- where stakeholders can also weigh in.

Those comments will be reviewed to see what changes need to be made in the next version of the standard, which is due out in the fall of 2010, said Robert Russo, general manager of the PCI SSC. In addition, the PCI SSC has commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers P(wC) to review technologies such as end-to-end encryption, chip and PIN and tokenization to see whether these technologies should be made part of PCI requirements in the future, Russo said.

PCI standards were created by Visa, MasterCard and other major credit card brands and are administered by the PCI SSC. All companies that accept payment cards are required to implement the 12 high-level security controls prescribed under the standards. Larger companies face significantly tougher compliance requirements than smaller firms.

The request for comments and the review of new technologies by PwC come amid growing criticism of PCI from several quarters. Earlier this month, for instance, representatives from seven trade groups called for the standards to be developed in a more open manner. The letter, signed by representatives from the National Retail Federation, the Merchant Advisory Group, the National Restaurant Association and others, suggested that the PCI SSC adopt a standards writing process similar to those used by open standards bodies such as ANSI. The groups also recommended that retailers be given enough time to implement revisions and asked for a reduction in the number of requirements prescribed under PCI.

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