Alaska Personal Information
Protection Act Becomes Law
June 14, 2008
Alaska's Personal Information Protection Act, House Bill (HB)
65, has been signed into law. Sponsored by Representative John
Coghill, R-North Pole, and Senator Gene Therriault, R-North Pole,
the bill provides better protection to Alaskans against identity
theft and fraud. Sen. Therriault sponsored the companion bill
in the Alaska State Senate.
For the past four years Sen. Therriault and Rep. Coghill have
worked together with other legislators in a true bipartisan effort
to make passage of this protection a reality. Those Legislators
included former Sen. Gretchen Guess, D-Anchorage, and Rep. Les
Gara, D-Anchorage. Throughout this process Rep. Coghill and
Sen. Therriault also worked closely with stakeholders: consumer
advocacy groups, the business community, and government officials
to ensure that Alaska becomes a leader in protecting individuals'
personal information while still allowing modern commerce to
In the modern world of electronic commerce and massive databases,
it is now commonplace 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.
"Identity theft is an issue of concern for all Alaskans.
With the proliferation of the ever-changing information technology
we now have at our disposal, we had to craft clear rules and
guidelines to let businesses continue to work and also ensure
the proper care of this personal information," said Rep.
Coghill. "We have been trying for more than three years
now to find that balance of protection from identity theft while
still allowing commerce and transactions to continue, and this
bill meets that need. The AARP has called this the most important
issue before the Legislature this session, and I would agree."
"Recent security breaches
at large companies, many of which do business in Alaska, and
the growth in the use 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," Sen. Gene Therriault, R-North
Rep. Coghill and Sen. Therriault have in the past been staunch
supporters of Alaskan's individual information. In 2001 they
worked together closely to pass critical legislation to prohibit
government from printing social security numbers on hunting,
fishing, and drivers' licenses.
This legislation will provide Alaskans with tools to help better
protect themselves against identity theft and fraud. Some of
the important provisions of the new law include:
Notification of Security Breaches. Requires 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.
"This legislation will help protect Alaskans from the threat
of identity theft," said Sen. Therriault. "It places
restrictions on the use of Alaskans' personal information by
others and gives individuals more control over their own personal
and financial information. It also addresses the increasing risk
to Alaskans as personal information is collected, distributed,
and discarded by the private sector and governmental entities.
Rep. Coghill did a great job shepherding the bill through the
HB 65 carries three separate effective dates. The Personal Information
Protection Act takes effect immediately. The transition period
for state agencies to promulgate regulations also takes effect
immediately. The care of records section takes effect on July
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REPRESENTATIVE JOHN COGHILL,
HOUSE DISTRICT 11
HOUSE RULES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN
SENATOR GENE THERRIAULT, R-NORTH POLE VALDEZ
SENATE MINORITY LEADER
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