Tuesday, July 31, 2007
States Legislate Security Freeze Options
Just as state legislatures have grown impatient with waiting for Congress to enact data breach notification legislation, so too have they become frustrated with Congress' inaction to grant consumers a security freeze option. Also known as a "credit freeze", a "security freeze" lets a consumer stop the disclosure of his credit information by a credit bureau. The result of a freeze is that neither the consumer nor anyone else can open an account in the consumer's name. This option is a key measure to guard against identity theft if a consumer suspects that his personal information has been stolen or compromised. But the option is unavailable without state law authorization. According to the World Privacy Forum, by September, 2007, 27 states will have made the option of a security freeze available to residents of their respective states, and by 2008, that number jumps to 34. A few of the states make the security freeze available only to those who have been previous victims of identity theft, but most have no such prerequisite. World Privacy Forum. Several of the bills that have been introduced in Congress also include security freeze options, and several of the Senate bills have been approved by either the Judiciary or Commerce Committees. In the meantime, consumers in at least 27 states have one more weapon to combat identity theft.