Compliance Management

Federal ID theft task force recommends national breach identification law, tougher standards

A White House-sanctioned commission on identity theft backed the creation of a national breach notification law this week.

The President’s Identity Theft Task Force on Monday unveiled an ambitious blueprint to curtail the nation’s fastest growing crime.

The task force, co-chaired by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras and U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, announced ideas that will help criminal prosecutions, educate consumers and limit the possibility of data theft.

The recommendations include:

· Reducing the unnecessary use by federal agencies of Social Security numbers as identifiers;

· Creating new standards, such as a national breach notification law;

· Establishing a security awareness campaign to educate consumers and employees on ID theft;

· Founding a national ID theft law enforcement center so authorities can coordinate during investigations.

The task force also proposed harsher penalties for identity thieves and tougher laws, such as making ID theft a crime, even if information is not stolen through "interstate communications."

"Identity theft is a blight on America’s privacy and security landscape," Majoras said in a FTC statement. "Identity thieves steal consumers’ time, money and security, just as sure as they steal their identifying information."

According to Gartner, 15 million Americans fell victim to identity theft-related fraud from mid-2005 to mid-2006. The average loss jumped from $1,408 to $3,257 during that time.

The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing the world’s leading software makers, today praised the recommendations, calling them a "critical step in the federal government’s role to protect consumers from identity theft."

Particularly, the BSA said, it supported legislation that would update current laws and increase resources for law enforcement.


editor's note: Deborah Platt Majores was featured in the December 2006 issue of SC Magazine, "IT security reboot 2006: Top 5 influential security thinkers."


Click here to email reporter Dan Kaplan 

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