Push underway to update identity protection laws
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - This past week in Washington D.C., calls were made for action to reverse the troubling trend in data breaches, and their devastating impact on consumers.
“Every year, we are breaking records. What’s troubling is that these breaches are now more sophisticated, and that we don’t have the adequate security to help stop them,” said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington).
“We are now, as of today, only 238 data breaches away from an all time high,” said James Lee, the COO of the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).
A report released this past week from the national non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center provides further proof to the U.S. Senate Committee hearing. According to the report, the number of data breaches through September 30, 2021 has exceeded the total number of events in the full-year of 2020 by 17%. In 2020, there were 1,108 data breaches, and through September 30, 2021, there have been 1,291 data breaches.
In addition, the report states the number of data compromise victims in the third quarter of 2021 is 160 million, and is higher than the combined totals of the first and second quarter of 2021 - 121 million. It states the rise in the number of victims is primarily due to a series of unsecured cloud databases, and not breaches.
The report goes on to say the all-time high number of breaches was set in 2017, with 1,529.
In addition, the Identity Theft Call Center hearing record reports of unemployment identity theft.
“Shortly after the federal unemployment subsidies went into effect, we started to receive one call a day, that then became a couple calls a day, and very quickly where we had more contacts in one month than we had seen from all 50 states in two years. It was a rapidly increasing problem,” said Lee.
A former director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission highlights outdated privacy laws.
“One of the key problems is that current law fails to set clear standards for data security, or provide adequate remedies,” said Jessica Rich, the former Director of the FTC Privacy Program.
Sophisticated cybercriminals in many cases are one step ahead of companies.
There is legislation trying to set new federal data security regulations and push for penalties.
“Part of the problem is we live in a more connected world. What we know now is that when there is a data breach, consumers are the ones that pay the heavy price. We do not have enough on the book in a federal standard to make sure that companies are more accountable to these breaches,” said Senator Cantwell.
The ITRC provides no-cost victim assistance and consumer education through its website live-chat, as well as over the phone. CLICK HERE to access the live-chat, and the toll-free phone number is 888-400-5530.
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