Sunday, October 02, 2005

Terminating Identity Theft in California

Senator Diane Feinstein was responsible for a law in California requiring victims to be notified by businesses and the government when their identities have been compromised. This law has had a far reaching effect on policy setting and is credited with starting a trend, both in the United States and beyond.

In January, she introduced more legislation to address the crime of identity theft.

"The Privacy Act – A comprehensive bill that would set a national standard for protecting personal information such as Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and medical and financial data, including information collected both online and offline. Modeled on California ’s financial privacy law, it requires companies to let consumers “opt in” before their most sensitive information is shared."

"The Social Security Number Misuse Prevention Act – This bill would regulate the use of Social Security numbers by government agencies and private companies by prohibiting the sale or display of Social Security numbers to the general public, and by requiring Social Security numbers to be taken off of public records published on the Internet."

"The Notification of Risk to Personal Data Act – Modeled on California’s database security law, this bill would define as personal data an individual’s Social Security number, driver’s license number, state identification number, bank account number or credit card number; require a business or government entity to notify an individual when it appears that a hacker has obtained unencrypted personal data; levy fines by the FTC of $5,000 per violation or up to $25,000 per day while the violation persists; and allow California’s privacy law to remain in effect, but preempt conflicting state laws."

Following the trend set by Senator Feinstein, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (with the help of a lot of California politicians) is also working hard to protect the rights of people, who become victims of a crime that can ruin people's lives. He has recently signed the following laws into effect:

"SB 13 by Senator Debra Bowen (D-Marina del Rey) - Personal information.
SB 13 requires that the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects at the Health and Human Services Agency approve scientific research proposals before state agencies are permitted to disclose personal information to be used while conducting scientific research."

"SB 97 by Senator Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) - Commercial electronic mail: penalties.
SB 97 provides that a person who violates California's anti-spam law by sending unsolicited commercial electronic mail ("spam") has committed a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months, or by both the fine and imprisonment."

"SB 158 by Senator Michael J. Machado (D-Linden) - Powers of attorney: social security numbers.
SB 158 eliminates the requirement that one provide his or her Social Security Number on a power of attorney form and authorizes any party accepting the form to seek identification of the agent."

"SB 460 by Senator Bob Margett (R-Arcadia) - Offender access to personal information.
SB 460 expands existing law to prohibit any offender confined in a county facility or any inmate confined in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR), from employment that provides access to the personal information of private individuals, by making the provisions of law applicable regardless of the commitment offense of the inmate."

"AB 361 by Assemblymember Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) - Notaries public.
AB 361 provides that it is a misdemeanor for notaries public to willfully fail to perform the required duties of a notary and requires the court to revoke a notary's commission if the notary is convicted of a felony or for willfully failing to perform his or her duties. This bill also clarifies that the crime of forgery includes falsifying an acknowledgement of a notary."

"AB 1069 by Assemblymember Cindy Montanez (D-San Fernando) - Deceptive identification documents.
AB 1069 makes it a crime to possess deceptive identification document-making devices with the intent that the device(s) will be used to manufacture, alter, or authenticate a deceptive identification document, as defined."

"AB 1517 by Assemblymember Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) - Department of Managed Health Care: employee information.
AB 1517 would permit the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) to run criminal background checks on any prospective employee whose duties would include access to medical information. This bill also requires the DMHC to conduct criminal background checks on any contractor, its employees, agents or subcontractors that, as a part of their contracts with the DMHC, will have access to medical records."

It's refreshing to see politicians ignore party lines to protect people from what is becoming the fastest growing crime of the century. I would like to commend Govenor Schwarzenegger, Senator Feinstein and the host of State Senators for their noteworthy efforts. These efforts will protect those they serve.

California is continuing the trend of enacting laws, which will (in my opinion) "terminate" the easy access cybercriminals have to all of our personal information.

You can support legislation (present and future) by letting your politicians know how you feel. Here are two sites to find out where to write:

In the United States go to:

In the United Kingdom go to:

To read the information on Govenor Schwarzenegger's site, click on the title of this post.

1 comment:

prying1 said...

This one is great - I'm sending it out on my email list.