Identity Theft Crackdown Promoted:
Legislation would force companies to tell customers when they're at risk.
Rita Chang, Medill News Service
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
WASHINGTON -- As identity theft becomes the fastest-growing crime in the United States, some companies endorse legislation requiring them to disclose theft of personal data, while privacy advocates urge lawmakers to go even further to protect consumers.
At a Tuesday hearing called by the bill's author, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), witnesses applauded S. 1350 as a much-needed first step in guarding against increasing security breaches on databases.
'There are few consumer issues more worthy of the attention than this topic,' said David McIntyre, president of TriWest Healthcare Alliance, at the hearing. His company's computer hard drives, containing data for a half million customers, were stolen last December.
Under the bill, companies must notify customers whenever their personal data--such as Social Security, driver's license, credit, or debit card numbers--are compromised through computer hacking or other unauthorized access.
Companies that fail to comply would be fined up to $5000 per violation or up to $25,000 each day."