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Lucas co-sponsors new privacy law

Post staff report

U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas has joined lawmakers trying to protect Americans from identity theft.

Lucas, D-Ky. of Richwood, has co-sponsored a bill that would set new limits on how Social Security numbers can be used.

The Privacy and Identity Protection Act of 2000 would bar federal, state and local government entities from selling Social Security numbers or from displaying them on documents such as driver's licenses or government checks.

The bill also would deter businesses from denying services to customers who decline to provide Social Security numbers.

Lucas noted that the numbers were created in 1936 to keep track of workers' earnings but since have become personal identifiers that can open the door to a person's financial and medical information.

Identity theft affects nearly 600,000 Americans a year and is the fastest-growing financial crime in the nation, he said. Nearly 200 cases of identity theft have been reported in Kentucky since December 1998.

Lucas said the proposed law balances business efficiency with citizens' privacy rights.

The bill is in the House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

Publication date: 08-07-00

Kentucky Post


Cybercrime bill goes to Senate

Associated Press

FRANKFORT - The House voted Friday to put Kentucky on the offensive against cybercrime that takes a victim's identity, money and reputation.

A bill creating a felony crime of identity theft passed the House 92-0 and moves to the Senate.

Rep. John Vincent, the bill's lead sponsor, said the proposal is meant to protect Kentuckians from having their identities seized by computer hackers.

Identity theft would involve someone improperly obtaining personal information and using it to obtain benefits or property, make financial transactions or avoid detection. The information could be a person's name, Social Security number, birth date or other personal identification.

Vincent said the bill, which sets a punishment of one to five years in prison would give Kentucky one of the nation's toughest laws against such cybercrime. Another new felony crime would be created - trafficking in stolen identities - to prosecute people who possess or try to peddle stolen IDs. Violators could be sentenced to five to 10 years in prison.

The bill also would allow Kentucky to prosecute people in other states who use computers to obtain a Kentuckian's personal information.

The bill also would allow victims to seek civil damages from perpetrators.

Publication date: 02-26-00

Kentucky Post

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