Volume 17, Number 47 | April 15 — 21, 2005

Identity theft legislation

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer submitted a package of bills to the State Legislature last week to provide consumers with more control over the dissemination of personal data and to strengthen the State’s ability to prosecute crimes leading to identity theft and the unauthorized use of personal information.

The proposed laws would allow consumers to impose security freezes on credit files and would increase strictures on private companies’ disclosure of social security numbers. Companies would also have to notify each customer in instances where a security breach has exposed personal information of 500 or more people.

Information brokers would also have to notify consumers whenever their phone numbers, bank account numbers, driving record or other personal data are provided to clients. The notification would also have to contain the name of the company that requested the information.

A statewide personal information “opt-out” list – similar to a telemarketing “do not call” program, would be established. The bills would also facilitate criminal prosecution against computer hackers and against gaining unauthorized information about employment, salary, credit or other financial and personal data.

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