CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bill Passed to Help Stop Identity Theft

From The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee recently unanimously approved a pair of bills that aim to bolster consumers' protection against misuse of their social security numbers and computer-borne spyware.

The two bills, known officially as the Social Security Protection Act of 2007 (HR 948) and the Securely Protect Yourself From Cyber-Trespass, or Spy Act (HR 964), respectively, are now headed to a House-wide vote in the coming weeks.

"Identity theft is a scourge on the American consumer; it exacts a heavy financial toll on individuals and on businesses," Congressman John D. Dingell, a Michigan Democrat and Chairman Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a statement on the bills, both of which he helped sponsor. "These two bipartisan bills strike a blow against this problem in a fair and balanced manner."

The Social Security Protection Act of 2007 -- first proposed by Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat -- makes it illegal to purchase or sell social security numbers in a manner that violates Federal Trade Commission (FTC) anti-fraud regulations.

Among the recent amendments made to the bill before its approval were a number of exemptions to the rules to help law enforcement, national security, public health or safety, and credit verification organizations utilize the numbers for purposes of identification. The bill would also preempt similar state laws if passed, and provide for enforcement of the rules by individual state attorneys general.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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Unfortunately those bills are aimed at such a small segment of the entire identity theft epidemic, they are more for show than anything else. Of course anything is better than nothing, but casting a net with holes that you could drive a car through will not have much impact.

This will stop identity theft about as much as the spam laws worked.

It is up to the individual to take the necessary steps to protect their personal information and not wait until the government rides in like the calvalry and saves them.

Posted by: Michael Durnack | May 14, 2007 11:12:14 PM

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