Thursday, April 14, 2005

Senate Discusses Identity Theft

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary committee held a hearing on identity theft. Under consideration is Senator Diane Feinstein’s (D-CA) “Notification of risk to Personal Data Act” which would require companies who’ve had a security breach to notify customers whose identities may have been stolen.

While the Senate made some noise last February, this time we might actually see some action.

Cox News Service reports that, in addition to Feinstein’s bill, Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced legislation:

that would increase oversight of data brokers and create a new office at the Federal Trade Commission to help victims of identity theft.

Under the legislation, data brokers would have to register with the FTC, institute safeguards to prevent fraudulent access by unauthorized parties and allow consumers to obtain reports. The legislation would limit the use of Social Security numbers.

And the data broker industry is not putting up a fight. In fact,

Officials of the nation's top data brokers told Congress on Wednesday that they support greater regulation of the burgeoning industry after several incidents in which consumers' personal information was compromised.

Senators Patrick Leahy (D-MA), John Corzine (D-NJ) and Arlen Spector (R-PA) have also shown leadership on fighting identity theft. But despite the moderate Spector’s efforts, it does seem the Democrats are much more interested in this issue than the Republicans—which is worrisome given that Republicans run the Legislative and Executive branches.

This should in no way be a partisan issue. All our representatives should get on board with making the changes necessary to fight identity theft.


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