Can Legislation Stop Identity Theft?

There’s an article at called “Can Legislation Stop Identity Theft?”. According to the article, “the recent US$15 million settlement between ChoicePoint and the Federal Trade Commission Latest News about Federal Trade Commission (FTC) signals regulators have cranked up the heat on companies that allow personal customer data in their possession fall victim to breach or exposure”.

ChoicePoint, a broker of consumer data, acknowledged that information on 163,000 consumers was exposed when its database was infiltrated. It agreed to pay a $10 million fine imposed by the FTC and to set up a $5 million account to help those who fell victim to identity theft as a result.

However, “as much as the FTC had hoped to send a message, it seems that get-tough approaches from regulators and even promises from lawmakers to address identity theft with tougher legislation are not likely to provide enough protection for consumers”.

“Many believe legislative efforts will fall short of the mark. While lawmakers recognize the urgency of addressing the ID theft trend, the laws they are likely to pass will often be softened on their way through the legislative process thanks to heavy lobbying from corporations, trade groups and others, Todd Davis, the chief executive officer of LifeLock, which offers a proactive anti-identity theft service, told the E-Commerce Times…

Companies are often reluctant to admit fault, and some may feel that offering to help prevent identity theft based on a data breach may be the equivalent of admitting wrongdoing — and opening the door to hefty legal claims.”

In many instances, companies are not genuinely concerned about the data protection. “Companies are turning over control of data to third parties for processing or storage, often without first ensuring they can keep it safe, noted Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Director Beth Givens.

“The easier it gets to transfer billions of bits of confidential data by pushing a button, the more difficult it is to safeguard our private records”.

A major part of legislators and a lot of privacy groups beleive that the identity theft legislation may be difficult to come by, however, it may be necessary, “since existing regulations haven’t had the desired impact”.

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