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Sony told a subcommittee of the House of Representatives that it would comply with its request for answers about the outage of the PlayStation Network that resulted in the possible loss of user identity data and credit card numbers. But the Japanese company said it could not yet appear in front of the subcommittee to answer questions in person.

The interaction shows that there will be some tense moments ahead for Sony as it tries to walk the line of cooperating with government requests while keeping the details of its ongoing investigation secret. Congress is interested because Sony lost control of identity data for its 77 million registered users and may have lost credit card numbers for 10 million users.

Representative Mary Bono Mack, chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, asked the company to answer a set of questions and attend a hearing to testify in person. The subcommittee sent Sony a letter on Friday asking questions related to the attack, which resulted in the shutdown of the PlayStation Network on April 19.

Patrick Seybold, a spokesman for Sony, said the company is cooperating with the request and will provide responses in advance of the subcommittee’s deadline. However, he said the company’s representatives could not appear as early as this Wednesday because of the “ongoing intensive investigation and management of this criminal cyberattack.”


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The subcommittee has asked for more information on what was taken during the attack. Sony executives apologized for the outage and data loss and answered questions at a press conference in Japan (Saturday night, Pacific time) for an hour and 42 minutes. The subcommittee is exploring creating a federal data breach notification law to help protect consumers after their personal data is lost.

Meanwhile, Sony Online Entertainment, a separate division that makes online games for PC players, said today it had to shut down its service as it investigated the intrusion. Sony is expected to bring the PSN back online sometime this week.

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