The Hartford Courant reports that Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell has signed Senate Bill 838, An Act Concerning Consumer Privacy and Identity Theft. The new law, Public Act No. 09-239, goes into effect on October 1. The law broadens the definitions of identity theft and “personal identifying information.” It also increases penalties for the crime, including strengthening penalties against those who are convicted of victimizing senior citizens. When identity theft has been proven, the law also requires a court to issue orders to correct public records “that contains false information as a result of such violation.”
“Identity theft goes far deeper than monetary losses,” Governor Rell said, when signing the bill. “It is a crime that shreds an individual’s sense of security and often takes someone years to recover his or her good name. This law will help victims put their lives back together.”
The definition of identity theft is now:
(a) A person commits identity theft when such person [intentionally obtains personal identifying information of another person without the authorization of such other person and] knowingly uses [that] personal identifying information of another person to obtain or attempt to obtain, in the name of such other person, money, credit, goods, services, property or medical information [in the name of such other person] without the consent of such other person.
The definition of “personal identifying information” has been expanded:
(b) As used in this section, “personal identifying information” means any name, number or other information that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific individual including, but not limited to, such individual’s name, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, motor vehicle operator’s license number, Social Security number, employee identification number, employer or taxpayer identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, health insurance identification number, demand deposit account number, savings account number, credit card number, debit card number or unique biometric data such as fingerprint, voice print, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation.
Interesting, the law also makes it a misdemeanor to for a person to unlawfully possess “personal identifying information access device,” such as a card reader or scanner.
Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2009) (a) For the purposes of this section, (1) “access device” includes, but is not limited to, any card, plate, code, account number, mobile identification number, personal identification number, telecommunication service access equipment, card-reading device, scanning device, reencoder or other means that could be used to access financial resources or obtain the financial information, personal information or benefits of another person, and (2) “personal identifying information” has the same meaning as provided in section 53a-129a of the general statutes, as amended by this act.
(b) A person is guilty of unlawful possession of a personal identifying information access device when such person possesses an access device, document-making equipment or authentication implement for the purpose of fraudulently altering, obtaining or using the personal identifying information of another person.
(c) Unlawful possession of an access device is a class A misdemeanor.
The law will require employers to strengthen the security of job applications:
Each employer shall obtain and retain employment applications in a secure manner and shall employ reasonable measures to destroy or make unreadable such employment applications upon disposal. Such measures shall, at a minimum, include the shredding or other means of permanent destruction of such employment applications in a secure setting.
Unfortunately, the state exempted itself from this provision. If the state believes individual privacy would be made more secure by these regulations, then the state should follow them, as well. Why exempt itself from the requirements?
The law has numerous other provisions affecting identification and identity theft, some of which are highlighted in the Hartford Courant article.