Bill important for guarding ID theft protections

The Tribune

The Sony hacking scandal and the release of employees’ private information, including Social Security numbers, is only the latest and highest-profile case of mass identity theft.

Several U.S. retailers were hit by hackers this past year, putting tens of thousands of customers’ information at risk.

Closer to home, police believe scammers used a device to capture customer credit and debit card information at a car wash. The identity

thieves then made a series of purchases with the purloined information.

Identity theft is an ongoing concern for American consumers, and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller would like to do something about it. He

said that so far this year his office’s identity theft unit has opened 1,310 identity theft-related complaints, including complaints about 375 separate

data breaches.

Zoeller is proposing a new law he said would help protect state residents from identity theft. The law would require online businesses that store personal or financial data to make sure it is secure and to delete any information no longer needed. The law also would allow businesses to share or sell the information only when authorized by law or when consumers are informed in advance.

The proposal also would require that businesses inform consumers when data must be collected and how long it will be stored.

State Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, plans to sponsor the legislation.

While the proposal won’t curb every case of identity theft, it should give consumers greater confidence and a higher degree of control over the release of their private information.

At issue

Identity theft remains a continuing risk for Hoosiers.

Our point

A proposal by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller would give Hoosiers greater control over release of their private information.