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Stronger Federal ID-Theft Law: the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008

While we were focused on the Vice President debate, Governor Palin, and the financial crisis in Washington, last week President Bush signed into law the Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2008. The new law makes it easier for prosecutors to take action against online identity thieves. The Washington Post reported:

Under current federal cybercrime laws, prosecutors must show that the illegal activity caused at least $5,000 in damages before they can bring charges for unauthorized access to a computer. The new law eliminates that requirement. The law makes it a felony, during any one-year period, to damage 10 or more protected computers used by or for the federal government or a financial institution, and directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review its guidelines and consider increasing the penalties for those convicted of identity theft, computer fraud, illegal wiretapping or breaking into computer systems.

Legislation authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). The new law also has some new benefits for identity-theft victims - compensation by identity thieves:

"The law requires that in cases where convicted identity thieves are ordered to pay restitution, the victim should get a chunk of that money 'equal to the value of the time reasonably spent by the victim in an attempt to remediate the intended or actual harm incurred by the victim from the offense.' "

All of this is good news, but Congress needs to do more. Two good next steps would be, a) stronger penalties including jail time for corporate executives who fail to implement strong data security measures in their companies, and b) Federal anti-skimming legislation with strong penalties and prosecution of identity thieves who clone consumers' RFID charge cards and badges.


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Bob J

hopefully this bill will help with all the cybercrime. However ther are a lot of different types of identity theft then need to be addresssed. To learn more about identity theft you can visit I found this site very informative and helpful.

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