US federal agencies have called for tougher laws to comabt identity theft and enhance data protection for sensitive consumer information.
The wide-ranging plans to clamp down on ID theft have been drawn up by a federal task force, chaired by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. The task force was established last May by the White House. It now includes 17 federal agencies and departments such as the Homeland Security Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Unveiling the proposals, FTC Chairman Majoras, comments: "The strategic plan submitted to the President provides a blueprint for increased federal prevention and protection."
The recommendations include calls for federal agencies to reduce the unnecessary use of Social Security numbers and the establishment of national standards for private sector entities to safeguard personal data and to provide notice to consumers when a breach occurs that poses a significant risk of identity theft.
The Task Force’s recommendations also include several legislative proposals designed to fill the gaps in current laws, and make it easier to prosecute identity thieves. This would include an amendment to existing statutes to criminalise the theft of electronic data and assure the ability of federal prosecutors to charge those who use malicious spyware and keyloggers and engage in cyber-extortion.