Monday, December 18, 2006


(illustration from the Wall Street Journal)
Two years ago the ability of a consumer to lock down their credit information from unauthorized prying eyes as nearly doomed as the previous congress, under heavy pressure from banks and credit reporting companies moved forward to eliminate 24 state laws which provided for this important protection.

The attorneys general of 49 states had argued that consumers should be allowed to block access to their credit records thus closing a major vector of fraud and identity theft. The credit rating companies, facing the significant loss of revenues from the widespread selling of your personal information opposed state laws and sought to eliminate “credit freezes” in the congress. Under the guise of providing for a national program, the congressional committee responsible for such legislation reported a bill which effectively eliminated “credit freezes” in all states and replaced it with a federal law which provided no such protection.

Fortunately the “do nothing congress” did nothing and the bill languished amid partisan cat calling and inaction.

We have urged our clients to contract congress to allow the states to pass their own laws in this area. And if a national law were needed then the law must provide similar protections to the 24 states currently with these laws, rather than eliminating the protection all together. Fortunately our congressional representatives have been listening. The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend that the new congressional leaders intend to bolster privacy rights in the next congress. Among these improved protections against identity theft and fraud will be provisions to allow states to continue their protections or to adopt strict federal legislation allowing consumer to lock down their credit information from unauthorized prying eyes.


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