SANTA MONICA, CA -- Consumer Watchdog today called on President Obama to back mandatory encryption of sensitive data like health records to prevent damaging data breaches like the Anthem Inc. hack that compromised the records of 80 million people.

The nonprofit nonpartisan public interest group made its call as Obama was speaking at The White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection being held at Stanford University.

“Incredibly Anthem stored extremely sensitive data about its customers in the clear without encryption,” said John M. Simpson Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project director. “Simply put, that should be illegal.”

Much of the Administration’s cybersecurity efforts focus on voluntary standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as call for businesses to share information with each other and the government.

“Voluntary standards are insufficient to protect consumers. There should be real, enforceable regulations with teeth,” said Simpson.