Proposed US state ID theft bill amended

A proposed California law which would have significantly broadened the scope of an existing state identity theft law has been...

A proposed California law which would have significantly broadened the scope of an existing state identity theft law has been amended in what appears to be a concession to lobbyists.

The bill in question seeks to widen the scope of an existing California identity theft law that went into effect last July. 

Under that law, any company that maintains computerised databases containing certain pieces of personal information about California residents is obliged to inform those individuals of any security breach in which unencrypted personal data may have been compromised. 

The proposed bill sought to expand the scope of that legislation by making it mandatory for companies to report breaches involving not just computerised data, but data maintained on other media as well, such as voice systems and paper. 

Critics had argued against the provision, saying it would prove extremely hard for companies to comply with because of the vast amount of data that would need to be protected. The proposed law would have also required companies to exercise an unfeasible level of control over employee activities and workspaces. 

In what appears to be a response to such concerns, the proposed bill was amended to only apply to computerised data. 

Two other important provisions in the proposed bill remain unchanged, however. Companies that suffer a security breach involving personal information are still required to provide two years of credit-monitoring services, without charge, to each individual affected.

The bill would also require credit reporting agencies to allow consumers to add a password to their credit files that prospective users of that report would need to match before accessing it. 

Jaikumar Vijayan writes for Computerworld

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