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Senate Introduces Strong Privacy Bill 176

amigoro writes "US Senators introduced a bill that better protects the privacy of citizens' personal information in the face of data security breaches across the country. Key features of the bipartisan legislation include increasing criminal penalties for identity theft involving electronic personal data and making it a crime to intentionally or willfully conceal a security breach involving personal data."
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Senate Introduces Strong Privacy Bill

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  • I think the more important aspect is the increased penalties for willfully concealing a security breach. Increasing criminal penalties is of varying value. One of the reasons criminals commit crimes is because they think they won't get caught, so whether they risk 2 years in jail or 4 isn't going to matter that much to them.

    But increasing penalties for willfully covering up a data breach may have more effect. As we've seen, bigger breaches cannot be kept secret for long. There are too many ways for them to be ferreted out. Furthermore, the people who would be in a position to conceal a data breach are often people who are more afraid of jail than those who willfully commit crimes like identity theft.

    Of course, what I'd really like to see is a death penalty for spammers.

    - Greg
  • by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @09:06AM (#17932970)
    ... are better than what is in the actual legislation.

    Key features of the bipartisan legislation include increasing criminal penalties for identity theft involving electronic personal data and ...

    Great. Increase the penalties. That's not really going to deter the criminals, they operate on the thought that they don't get caught.

    ... making it a crime to intentionally or willfully conceal a security breach involving personal data.

    Also great. How about prohibiting the collection and storage of data that is not necessary for business transactions in the first place ?

    One can just hope that companies will think a little more about what and how much data they collect and store.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, 2007 @09:09AM (#17932984)
    A fundemental personal privacy/personal data concept that should be the basis of all laws governing how businesses and governments handle and are responsible for personal data should be liability for PD loss/leakage is directly proportional to the amount of PD per individual.

    For example, your company leaks:

    1) Addresses
    2) SSN
    3) Email addresses

    That will give you three times the liability of a company that leaks:

    1) Address

    Make it financially worthwhile for companies to store the absolute minimum PD necessary to operate their business and to create the incentive to delete all unnecessary data at the earliest opportunity.

    With storage so cheap and the liability for companies or governments essentially divorced from the actual damage done to personal privacy breaches there is absolutely no reason for any company to store every bit of PD about you on their(insecure) systems.

  • by caudron ( 466327 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @10:04AM (#17933418) Homepage
    ...I want a new Privacy Amendment.

    Seriously, Privacy is a right (according to SCOTUS) but currently the right is in limbo. The limits and effects are mercurial and need to be codified.

    Also, I'm far more worried about breaches of privacy by the government than by ID thieves. Shore up my Right to Privacy properly and I'll feel a little better about things. Adding sentencing recommendations to ID theft cases is like hate crime statutes. I'm not /opposed/ to an extra small smackdown for certain crimes (maybe...I admit to some uncertainty here) but I'd rather have a RIGHT to tell the phone company to play a game of Hide and Go Fsck Yourself when they ask for my SSN, for instance. Bonus points if I can get the right to do the same to the US Government when they don't /actually/ need it.

    Tom Caudron
    http://tom.digitalelite.com/ [digitalelite.com]
  • by db32 ( 862117 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @10:13AM (#17933508) Journal
    Republicans these days favor the Big Brother spy on everyone method to law and order

    Democrats these days favor the Nanny state censor everything method to law and order

    The people these days favor whatever party makes them most scared of the consequences of disagreeing

    We see a huge swing right with "Fear the boogey man!" and now that we have seen the consequences we are swinging left we are back to "Hell no we won't go!". Whole nation of extremists.
  • by thomn8r ( 635504 ) on Thursday February 08, 2007 @11:59AM (#17934802)
    Last week I had to sit through a HIPAA class ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_Insurance_Port ability_and_Accountability_Act [wikipedia.org] ) Granted, I was bored to tears, but I couldn't help but think that we need these same guidelines were applied to consumer data, including credit and financial info.

    HIPAA is a set of rules, with some teeth, that governs how patient medical information must be handled. The banks, credit agencies, etc would squeal like pigs if such legislation were proposed, but I think that's what we really need.

Computer programmers do it byte by byte.