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July/August 2008

Loud Cries for National Data Protection Law

A national data protection law would help curtail identity theft and could boost international relations. A by-product of almost every transaction people make today is personal data being stored electronically somewhere, usually in several places such as a retail outlet, bank or credit card company. At the same time, 8.3 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2005, according to the Federal Trade Commission. But while identity theft is a federal crime, there are no federal laws to protect personal data. Regulations like HIPAA and GLBA only deal with specific industries. Individual states have enacted various laws to help protect citizens from identity theft and related incidents, typically in the form of breach notification. What our country needs is a national data protection law--one that individual states and industries could opt to expand. This law would define baseline protections that must be afforded to personal information regardless of who is collecting, storing and using the data. Such a law would also ...

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