Alaska's Personal Information
By Sen. Gene Therriault & Re. John Coghill
June 04, 2008
For the past four years we have worked together with other legislators
in a true bipartisan effort to pass legislation to protect the
identity of individual Alaskans. In the modern world of electronic
commerce and massive databases, it is now common place to read
headlines detailing the latest data breach and steps that can
be taken by people to protect themselves. However, as the concern
by Alaskan consumers grew, it became increasingly apparent that
Alaska laws lagged behind most states when it came to personal
information protection. With that in mind we set out to develop
a solution to help you better protect yourself. These efforts
resulted in the passage of House Bill 65 this year, and Alaska
is now poised to become a leader in protecting individuals' personal
information while allowing modern commerce to continue.
Throughout this process we worked closely with stakeholders:
consumer advocacy groups, the business community, and government
officials to provide Alaskans with tools to help better protect
themselves against these kinds of criminals. This wasn't new
territory for either of us. We both have been, and continue
to be protectors of individual Alaskans' personal information.
In 2001 we worked closely together to pass critical legislation
to prohibit government from printing your social security number
on hunting, fishing, and drivers' licenses. As we all know this
is one of the most critical pieces of information bad actors
use to steal identities and wreak havoc in the lives of hardworking
people and our seniors. It was important to make sure we had
tools in place to mandate business and government agencies that
collect your information, such as your social security number,
to notify you and the Attorney General of the State of Alaska,
if that information is breached and determined to be in the possession
of would-be identity thieves.
The following are the critical provisions of the Alaska Personal
Information Protection Act that allow Alaskans to better protect
Notification of Security
businesses and government entities, that collect your personal
data, to notify you if your information is acquired without authorization
and it is determined that identity theft may result.
Freeze Access To Your Credit Report. Enables you to choose
to protect against identity theft by freezing access to your
Protecting Social Security Numbers. Limits businesses
and government from intentionally communicating your Social Security
Number unless authorized by local, state, or federal law.
Disposal of Records. Business and government must take
all reasonable measures to protect your personal information
by developing policies and procedures for destruction of their
records containing your personal information.
Factual Declaration of Innocence after ID Theft. Allows
you as a victim of identity theft to petition the court and file
a police report to declare your innocence. It allows the state
to create a database of claims of identify theft and establish
a toll-free phone number for reporting.
Credit Card Numbers. Businesses and government may not print
more than the last four digits of your credit card or the expiration
date on receipts.
People need to take identity theft seriously and guard their
information carefully. What can you do to protect yourself?
First, be sure to shred any sensitive information including
documents with account numbers, account passwords, or any other
credit-based information. Second, never give out personal information
through email, the Internet, or over the phone unless you initiated
the contact. Third, never carry your social security card or
number with you, and only carry credit and debit cards you actually
use frequently. Fourth, if you access any accounts online, you
should have a password, which is not easily guessed.
Finally, you should review your credit reports, preferably every
quarter. The federal government requires the three major credit
bureaus to provide one free credit report per year to consumers.
To receive a copy of your credit report, call 1-877-322-8228
or go to www.annualcreditreport.com
Recent security breaches at large companies, many of which do
business in Alaska, and the increase of computers and the Internet
have increased the occurrence of identity theft. In 2006 the
Federal Trade Commission reported that there were 384 victims
of identity theft and fraud in Alaska. We all need to be more
careful and now we will finally have laws that will help
you protect yourself and your personal information.
House Bill 65 awaits transmittal to Governor Sarah Palin for
her consideration and signature and, if signed will become law
in July of 2009.
Senator Gene Therriault
Representative John Coghill
Senator Gene Therriault is
the Senate Republican Minority Leader. He respresents Senate
District F ~ North Pole to Valdez
Representative John Coghill is Chairman of the House Rules Committee.
He represents House District 11 ~ North Pole
Received June 03, 2008 - Published
June 04, 2008
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