'Credit Freeze' Eyed To Thwart ConsumerI.D. Thieves

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WASHINGTON - (07/26/05) -- The Senate will take a first crackat addressing the recent rash of online security theft when itsCommittee on Commerce votes Thursday on a bill that would reqireconsumer notification in the case of data breaches, and allowconsumers to put an immediate freeze on their credit reports ifthey believe their personal financial information may be used toaccess their finances. Consumers would be allowed to lift the'credit freeze' in advance of applying for new credit. The billwould also require credit unions, banks and all other users ofsensitive personal information, including third-party processors,to notify all affected consumers if their information is lost orbreached and there is a risk it will be used for identity theft.The Senate vote comes as lawmakers are increasingly grappling withgrowing incidents of online data theft, including this spring'stheft of data on millions of accounts processd by cards processorCardSystems Solutions. At least a half-dozen bills have beneintroduced in Congress to deal with the threat, most of themrequiring consumer notification. The bill would preempt all statelaws on these issues, in order to create a uniform nationalstandard.

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