NY AG Wants Do Not Identity Theft Law
from the here-come-the-legislators dept
New York’s Attorney General (and gubernatorial candidate) Eliot Spitzer seems to show up wherever there’s an issue that’s getting a lot of press. He took on Wall Street companies, spammers and insurance scammers among many others. So, is it really any surprise that he’s now decided to take on identity theft? Of course, there already are laws against identity theft and fraud. While they could be made better, it’s not clear that’s what’s happening here. In fact, one of the proposed laws speaks directly to all of those recent data leaks from ChoicePoint, LexisNexis and others. It would create a “Do Not Share” list that people could sign up for, forbidding any of these companies to share your data. While this might sound good on its face, it seems to be based on the idea that there really isn’t a good reason for companies to ever share your data — which isn’t quite true. Many of the conveniences we have these days is because of the data that’s available. Granted, in plenty of cases it may have gone too far, and these companies have done a dreadful job — but a full stop “do not share” list (which many people would quickly sign up for without realizing the impact) could greatly inconvenience many people. A much more reasonable solution isn’t to ban all sharing of information, but to give people more control and visibility into (1) what information companies have about them and (2) how it’s being used. That way, individuals can work to prevent the misuses, while still getting the benefits.