Sony Declines to Testify at U.S. House Hearing on Data Breach

Sony Corp. (6758), under scrutiny over delays in warning 77 million customers that their personal information may have been stolen, declined to testify at a U.S. House hearing on data theft, according to a lawmaker’s aide.

The company told lawmakers it was unable to appear because of an ongoing investigation into the intrusion, Ken Johnson, a spokesman for Representative Mary Bono Mack, a California Republican, said today in an interview.

Sony alerted customers of a breach in its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services on April 26, six days after shutting them down. The Tokyo-based company apologized for the breach today and said it is cooperating with authorities including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down the intruder.

Bono Mack, who chairs a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, has scheduled the hearing on data theft for May 4. Now that Sony has declined to appear, she has moved up the deadline for the company to respond to written questions to tomorrow from May 6.

Bono Mack and Representative G.K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, sent a letter Friday to Kazuo Hirai, Sony’s executive vice president in charge of consumer products and network services, asking when the company learned of the breach, why it waited to notify customers and what kind of data may have been stolen.

In a separate incident, Sony Online Entertainment, a unit that makes role-play games, suspended service today after discovering a hacker gained access to its systems in a second attack on the parent company’s entertainment networks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Engleman in Washington at eengleman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Allan Holmes at aholmes25@bloomberg.net

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