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AG Zoeller: Data protection bill is one step closer to becoming law

by Indiana Office of Attorney General on February 25, 2015
 

INDIANAPOLIS – Legislation that would better protect Hoosiers’ personal and financial data is one step closer to becoming law, said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. Senate Bill 413 passed the Indiana Senate unanimously today by a 50-0 vote, and now moves to the Indiana House of Representatives for further consideration.

Zoeller proposed and recommended SB 413 earlier this year in response to growing concerns about online privacy and data protection, especially in light of massive data breaches that have put countless individuals at risk of identity theft. It is currently estimated that 4.5 million records belonging to Indiana consumers were compromised in the recent breach of Anthem, Inc.

SB 413 would require data collectors to comply with safer data storage standards, such as deleting data that is no longer necessary for business purposes and refraining from selling data in a way that is inconsistent with consumer authorization or applicable law. It would also increase transparency and visibility of online privacy policies, and require collectors to tell consumers what data is being collected and how it will be used.

“If we are going to put a dent in the frequency of data breaches and the resulting damage caused to the public, we have to take action now,” Zoeller said. “Entities that store massive amounts of sensitive data need to be doing so safely and responsibly, and they need to be held accountable in case of a breach to make sure they did everything possible to protect peoples’ personal and financial information. It’s clear my partners in the Legislature recognize the urgency of creating greater safeguards to govern data storage.”

SB 413 is authored by State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) and State Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute).

“Data breaches and identity theft are serious crimes and have become increasingly more common as technology advances,” Merritt said. “By passing this legislation, we’re taking steps to ensure consumers feel confident and protected when conducting business online.”

Indiana University Maurer School of Law Distinguished Professor Fred Cate, founder of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, has also been working with Zoeller and the bill’s authors on this legislation.

The Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit was created in 2008 to help victims of identity theft, assist law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of identity theft suspects, and review data breaches that impact Indiana consumers.

In 2014, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office received more than 1,300 complaints of identity theft and 396 separate reports of data breaches, and the Identity Theft Unit helped to return $679,154 to Hoosiers harmed by identity theft or a data breach.

Zoeller reminded consumers that the best protection against identity theft is to initiate a credit freeze. This service is free in Indiana, and instructions can be found at www.IndianaConsumer.com/idtheft.

Those impacted in the recent breach of Anthem, Inc. can also sign up for free credit monitoring being offered by the company at https://www.anthemfacts.com/.

Zoeller encouraged Anthem customers to complete both the credit freeze and sign-up for credit monitoring. The credit freeze will deter fraud while credit monitoring would alert you if fraud has occurred. More information related to the Anthem breach can be found here: http://bit.ly/1Bmaqj5.

For more tips to protect yourself from identity theft, visitwww.IndianaConsumer.com/idtheft.  To file an identity theft complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, visit www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 800-382-5516.

    

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