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February Legislative Updates for Private Investigators

  • February 15, 2011
  • by PInow Staff

Javelin Survey on Identity Theft a Mixed Bag
Public officials, financial institutions and private investigators have looked to the annual study by Javelin Study and Research for indications regarding the prevalence of identity fraud. The just-released study of incidents reported for 2009 shows that the number of persons affected by fraud increased 12 percent, but that the number of arrests has doubled and victims now need less time to resolve their cases. The good news is that convictions have doubled.

Javelin reported that consumers have become more proactive in protecting themselves and financial institutions are providing safer banking both on and offline. The survey found that out-of-pocket cost to consumers was at an all-time low, $373.

NCISS is actively watching how this report will be used by proponents of additional restrictions on access to personal data. Privacy advocates continue to call for a federal statute to prevent data breaches and to limit access to Social Security numbers. Although the report does show an increase in new account fraud, the percentage of compromised Social security numbers decreased.
Larry Sabbath, NCISS Legislative Advocate

Online Privacy Bills Introduced
Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) has reintroduced the "Best Practices Act," which requires notice to consumers about what data are collected about them and requires their consent. The genesis of the legislation is concern about online data collection. However, last year's bill was not limited to online information. The NCISS Legislative Committee will be reviewing this year's bill, HR 611, to review any changes to determine its impact. We advised Rep. Rush of our concerns with last year's version of the bill. Although the Congressman no longer chairs the relevant subcommittee, there is substantial support in Congress for restrictions on online data collection.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced two privacy bills. One, HR 654, the "Do Not Track Me Online Act," would allow consumers to opt out of any tracking of their online activity. Last year the Federal Trade Commission suggested a similar approach. She also introduced HR 653, the "Financial Information Privacy Act," which limits the ability of financial institutions to share customer data. Again, we will be reviewing this legislation to determine any impact on the profession.
Jimmie Mesis, NCISS Legislative Chairman

New Licensing Bill Proposed in Colorado
The Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado recently introduced a bill for the voluntary licensing of private investigations. The bill would give people the choice over whether to obtain a license as a private investigators. Anyone who chooses not to become licensed, however, would not be able to refer to themselves with the title of licensed private investigator. If an unlicensed person violates this rule, it will be considered a Class 2 misdemeanor, and any subsequent offense will be a Class 1 misdemeanor. For a full list of licensing requirements and other information regarding the bill, click here.
Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado

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