July 18, 2005
CURRAN TO PROPOSE NEW LEGISLATION TO PROTECT MARYLANDERS
FROM ID THEFT
General J. Joseph Curran Jr. announced today that he will introduce
a legislative package during next year’s
legislative session to better protect Maryland citizens from the
quickly growing problem of identity theft. According to the Federal
Trade Commission, 40 percent of all complaints it receives now
deal with identity theft, and the state of Maryland ranks 13th
among states in volume of identity theft complaints filed with
the FTC. In the past months, there have been numerous security
breaches of consumers’ personal information; in one particular
case 40 million accounts were made vulnerable.
As part of
this initiative, Attorney General Curran will ask the General
Assembly to enact two bills that he sought last session.
Mr. Curran will propose a breach notification bill, which would
require notification of consumers when their personal information
has been breached so that they may take prompt action to protect
themselves. The bill also would require companies to maintain adequate
security for consumers’ personal information, including encryption
of personally identifiable information and destruction of information
in a manner that prevents its use by identity thieves. The second
bill is a security freeze bill that would allow consumers to instruct
a credit bureau to restrict access to their credit reports, which
would help prevent an identify thief from purchasing items in the
victim’s name or opening new credit accounts.
"The problem of identity theft, and personal information
being breached, has gotten out of hand. I am outraged at the somewhat
cavalier attitude of many businesses with regard to how they protect
your personal information," says Attorney General Curran.
He added, "these two bills are just a first step." Curran
will hold an Identity Theft Forum in November, to which he will
be inviting privacy experts, state legislators, and Maryland citizens
who have been victims of these types of breaches to examine other
measures that should be considered to address the problem.
Curran said that, while a task force to study identity theft established
during the last legislative session was a good idea, there are
measures needed to protect Maryland citizens that can and should
be taken well before the task force issues its report in December
2006. Curran added that there is no guarantee that legislation
being considered at the federal level will even be enacted, let
alone provide adequate protection for Maryland consumers.