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November 9, 2005

Chairman Specter
Ranking Member Leahy
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Re: A Policy Framework for Effective ID Theft Legislation

Dear Chairman Specter and Ranking Member Leahy,

We applaud your efforts to secure individuals' personal information in light of recent security breaches that have exposed data of over 50 million Americans this year alone. These data security problems were brought to the public's attention because of a California law that required disclosure of all security breaches, regardless if fraud has occurred. The disclosures have raised public awareness of important privacy and security issues, among them, a new and growing consumer awareness of commercial data brokers, an industry that trades in Americans' personal information with little oversight or accountability.

We are concerned, however, that recent proposals to address privacy, identity theft, and data security would preempt state law and establish a much weaker set of protections than are currently available to many consumers. In addition, these proposals largely address data security only, rather than whether the sale of detailed dossiers on individuals for vague "fraud management" purposes is legitimate and fair to consumers. Legislation contemplated by the Committee should be guided by a strong policy framework for effective identity theft legislation. Such a framework would include:

We look forward to working with you on these matters.


Jeff Chester
Executive Director
Center for Digital Democracy

Chris Hoofnagle
Senior Counsel
Electronic Privacy Information Center

Linda and Jay Foley
Co-Executive Directors
Identity Theft Resource Center

Susan Grant
VP Public Policy
National Consumers League

Robert Ellis Smith
Privacy Journal

Evan Hendricks
Privacy Times

Pam Dixon
Executive Director
World Privacy Forum

Ken McEldowney
Executive Director
Consumer Action

Mari J. Frank, Esq.
Attorney, Mediator, Privacy Consultant

Michael D. Ostrolenk
Founder/National Director
Liberty Coalition

Linda Ackerman

Beth Givens
Executive Director
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Edmund Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director


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Last Updated: November 9, 2005
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