Recent Consumer Information Theft
Prompts Bill to Protect Consumer Privacy
March 21, 2005
Today four Alaska legislators introduced legislation to require
that companies notify consumers when their personal or financial
information has been stolen. In February ChoicePoint, Inc., a
Georgia-based financial database company admitted personal information
affecting almost 150,000 consumers had been stolen. Recently,
the company admitted it knew of this breach since the fall, and
had delayed letting consumers, including 251 Alaskans, know
about the breach until last month.
The bills have been filed by
Sens. Gretchen Guess (D-Anchorage) and Johnny Ellis (D - Anchorage),
and Reps. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) and John Coghill (R-North Pole).
"Alaskans value their
privacy. Companies that profit from trading financial
and personal information need to protect that information,"
the legislators said in their bill sponsor statements.
The Alaska Senate and House
bills do the following:
- Require companies immediately
notify consumers when they learn personal or financial information
has been stolen.
- Require financial information
clearinghouses to allow consumers to place a "security freeze"
on their personal information. There are three companies in the
country that act as consumer financial information clearinghouses
and provide consumer data to banks, credit card, insurance, and
other companies. The security freeze provision allows
consumers to prevent the clearinghouses from sharing their information. The
provision will allow a consumer to regulate who will receive
a copy of his or her credit report. Under the
security freeze provision the consumer is required to give the
credit reporting agency an access code to release his or
her report to a company wishing to extend a line of credit.
In addition, Senator Guess
will be introducing a comprehensive consumer privacy bill, which
includes provisions to protect a consumer's social security number
and credit header information and allows for affordable monthly
credit monitoring services.
needs ID theft notification law The Providence Journal -
For some time, Congress has refused to take meaningful action
against the problem of identity theft. But the recent fraud against
data-collection giant ChoicePoint, along with other developments,
may at last inspire badly needed reform. - More...
Thursday - March 17, 2005
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