FTC chief wants ChoicePoint regulated | Tech News on ZDNet:

“ChoicePoint and other companies that amass consumer profiles should be forced by Congress to protect that information from identity theft, the head of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Thursday.

Existing laws are not strong enough to ensure that data brokers handle Social Security numbers and other sensitive details responsibly, FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras told the Senate Banking Committee.

‘I believe there may be additional measures that benefit consumers,’ Majoras said.”

Congress is considering greater regulation of data brokers following a rash of break-ins and other data losses that have heightened concerns about identity theft, a crime that costs consumers and businesses $50 billion annually, according to FTC estimates.

The following are my favorite Duh! statements listed in the article:

Sen. Jon Corzine of New Jersey said he would introduce a bill next week that would fine companies that do not comply with security standards developed by the FTC.

A bill drafted by New York Sen. Charles Schumer would require data brokers to screen clients and provide them with no more information than they need.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy suggested the government–a major client of data brokers–withhold business from companies that do not measure up.

The FTC’s Majoras said existing federal rules that require banks to take reasonable precautions to protect customer data should be extended to cover data brokers.

“We think that we ought to look at a broader security standard. As you say, we have a patchwork of laws today,” she said.

Companies should also be required to notify consumers when their data has been exposed to identity thieves, she said.

You got that right! And not just in California.

It is hard to imagine that companies that handle such sensitive identity and financial information on so many citizens, companies, as well as federal employees and their respective customers could somehow have slipped through the cracks within existing regulation.

NOTE: Originally posted: March 2005 (recreated from mangled original bambismusings.blogspot.com)

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