House representatives last week introduced legislation that would safeguard sensitive consumer information, fight identity theft and create a uniform standard for notifying consumers of data breaches. The Financial Data Protection Act of 2005 would: mandate a national standard for the protection of sensitive consumer information; require institutions to notify consumers that their information has been compromised and could be used by identity thieves; and require institutions to provide consumers with a free six-month nationwide credit monitoring service upon notification of a breach. Financial data protection has become a hot-button issue in the wake of consumer data breaches at major data companies ChoicePoint and LexisNexis, as well as major lending institutions. With more and more sensitive information becoming part of the everyday exchange of records among businesses, consumers are increasingly concerned about companies' data security policies and post-breach procedures. Th...
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