| WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO, March 26
WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO, March 26 Snapchat is
known for an app that enables users to send photo messages that
can vanish within seconds of being viewed. On Wednesday, company
officials didn't even appear at a Capitol Hill hearing on data
security they'd been invited to - and a top senator wasn't
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller said
Snapchat had declined his invitation to testify and insinuated
that the Los Angeles-based company, which has disclosed massive
data breaches within the past year, was concealing something.
"When people refuse to testify in front of this committee,
my instincts, which may be skewed, are nevertheless that they're
hiding something," the West Virginia Democrat said during the
hearing. "In this instance, on this subject, I think it warrants
Snapchat, one of the Internet industry's most closely
watched startups, acknowledged in January that it had known for
months about a security loophole that allowed hackers to harvest
millions of phone numbers from its servers.
The app, which has proven particularly popular with teens
and young adults, allows users to send images that self-destruct
after several seconds.
"While a representative from Snapchat was not able to
testify, we did cooperate fully with the committee and its
staff," the Los Angeles-based company said in a statement. "We
provided information in advance of the hearing and we are
committed to continuing that dialogue."
Data security has fallen under the spotlight in recent
months after a string of high-profile breaches, including one at
Target Corp that compromised credit card data for up to
110 million customers.
The Commerce Committee released a report this week blaming
Target for failing to respond to multiple warnings about network
Rockefeller, who is pushing legislation that would allow the
Federal Trade Commission to enforce data security standards, on
Wednesday urged companies to participate actively in
negotiations with the government on improving standards.
"While Congress deserves its share of the blame for
inaction, I am increasingly frustrated by the industry's
disingenuous attempts at negotiations," he said.
(Editing by Jonathan Oatis)