Congress Finally Moving On Data Security Measures

    July 28, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Banks and credit card companies have claimed they could maintain data security without government legislation.

In the wake of tens of millions of exposures of credit card and other personal information, Congress has decided the various industries handling that data need guidance from Washington after all.

The Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill, S. 1408, the Identity Theft Protection Act, that would make businesses responsible for safeguarding consumer information, according to Reuters. The bill would further rein in the brisk trade of individual Social Security numbers.

The Act would impose standards on businesses for information protection. A breach affecting 1,000 or more customers would have to be reported to the Federal Trade Commission and to consumer reporting agencies.

Unless a business has a specific need for a person’s Social Security number, it cannot solicit that number. The bill would further require any states that still place a Social Security number on a driver’s license will have to stop doing so.

“Every day, more and more of our sensitive personal information is made vulnerable to identity thieves because some companies aren’t doing enough to protect our information,” said Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) earlier this month. “As a result, our social security numbers and other sensitive information are being used against us – 10 million of us per year, according to government statistics.”

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.