There is a new identity theft protection act about to be signed into law by the President. This new law will close several loopholes within our current system and enforce tougher penalties for cyber crimes.
Here’s the lowdown:
The Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act was written by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont in October of 2007. Since then it’s bounced around, been approved by the Senate twice, and then finally passed the House of Representatives. Now it’s just waiting on the President’s stamp of approval before being officially passed into law.
The new Identity Theft Act will make some much needed changes to our current laws:
1) Victims of identity theft can now sue the criminals that stole their identity, no matter how much money was stolen from them. This includes seeking damages for the loss of your wages, time, and any other expenses you ran into while getting everything straightened out.
2) It is now a felony to place spyware, or keyloggers on more than 10 computers. Half the computer programs on the market will have to be pulled! (Kidding…sort of…)
3) Identity theft cases can now be tried in a federal court. Prior to this law, if you and the identity thief lived in the same state then the crime was handled at the state level and was usually considered a misdemeanor, and not a felony.
4) If the law passes, it will now be considered a crime to threaten to steal or “release data” from a computer. It’s punishable by a fine, and up to five years in prison.
The law itself is a small step forward in our favor. The more penalties there are for identity theft, the better off we are all presumably going to be.
Now, whether or not this will have any effect on our friends the Nigerian entrepreneurs , it’s hard to say. What it will do though, is crack down a smidge on the criminals living within the United States.
While to bill does nothing to actually make our personal information safer, at least now we can go after anyone who does try to steal our identities, and sue them in court.
Ahh the American way…