Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211
04/14/2005 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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SB 149-PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION CHAIR CON BUNDE announced SB 149 to be up for consideration. SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS, sponsor of SB 149, said her office conducted a study of how easy it is to get social security numbers and other information - enough to apply for a credit card - and it only took a couple of hours. 2:01:42 PM She said this is her attempt at a comprehensive approach to fill in the gaps the federal government said the state was to deal with at the state level. The bill has several provisions and the first article regards breach of security information. She said that you have to tell people if you may have disclosed their personal, non-public information and it also sets forth how to do that. The second section is the consumer report security freeze section and allows someone to put a freeze on his own customer report. It could be unfrozen when needed either on a one-time or an on-going basis. Section 3 concerns access to consumer reports and how much can be charged for them. The federal legislation allows one free report a year. Section 4 concerns protection of social security numbers. The next section concerns disposal of records to protect personal information given to employers. The next section is a declaration of innocence. It allows a means to go to court and say you are not the one who committed the crime that was perpetrated in your name. It also allows a way for the court to say, 'No, you were lying; it really was you.' SENATOR GUESS said the next section deals with credit header information, which is often sold by credit reporting agencies to people who mass-market. It often contains social security numbers, mother's maiden name, birth date, et cetera. She said, "You can't sell that anymore." The last section is the right to file a police report in your own jurisdiction to trigger an investigation even if the theft didn't happen in your jurisdiction. This is important because often times, especially with the federal law, you need a police report before you can trigger some provisions that the federal government has provided to us. We have talked with APD and DPS; they don't seem to have a problem with it. It's a citizen's report and there's provision in here that it doesn't go into their open cases. 2:06:29 PM CHAIR BUNDE wondered if this is too little and too late to make a difference. SENATOR GUESS replied yes and no. Over time it would make data more difficult to access and it will stop the practice of selling social security numbers. 2:09:03 PM CHAIR BUNDE asked if the security freeze would be similar to opt out provisions. "Is everyone automatically opted out or would you have to request an opt out?" SENATOR GUESS replied that it would be a conscious decision to opt out. CHAIR BUNDE asked if she had seen a letter from Choice Point. SENATOR GUESS replied no. CHAIR BUNDE asked Senator Guess to respond to that letter in writing and she agreed to do that. He said there was another similar bill and asked what the difference is from SB 149 and could they possibly be joined. SENATOR GUESS responded that SB 148 and SB 149 are similar in intent, but they were modeled after two different pieces of legislation. She said that she would work with Senator Ellis to see what could be done. SAM TRIVETTE, Capital City Task Force, strongly supported both bills. 2:14:53 PM RITA HATCH, Older Persons Action Group, said seniors are the most vulnerable because they don't understand that their identity can be stolen. She supported SB 149. 2:15:52 PM STEVE CLEARY, Executive Director, Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG), supported SB 148 and SB 149. These incidents keep happening; he just heard yesterday how 187,000 consumers who are GM Master Card holders have had their information compromised. CHAIR BUNDE asked how this related to federal legislation. SENATOR GUESS said the federal government passed comprehensive legislation and she feels comfortable with the state provisions. 2:20:19 PM SENATOR ELLIS said the California Choice Point law affected 251 Alaskans in a negative way and nothing in the federal act protected them. He thought state laws could help in Alaska where there are some unique situations. SENATOR RALPH SEEKINS explained that Seekins Ford credit information is sent to a data bank that is outside of Alaska and asked how the security section in article 2 would affect that. SENATOR GUESS replied if an outside business has enough commerce in Alaska, it can be affected by state law. Before or after a client went in to Seekins Ford, he would have to unfreeze his information. SENATOR SEEKINS asked what right the State of Alaska has to tell an out-of-state company to freeze information on an Alaskan resident. He warned that there would be opposition to this section, because 60 percent of people buy cars in the first 24 hours and their information needs to be available. TERRY BANNISTER, Legislative Legal Services, said there is no bright line on how state laws affect out-of-state businesses operating here and it depends on court interpretation. State laws are designed to extend as far as possible under both federal and state constitutions. Companies that have minimal contact here are subject to Alaskan law and, "We can enforce it." She said the issue is becoming more prevalent because of the Internet and how everything is becoming more interrelated. 2:31:17 PM SENATOR GUESS related that she read the Choice Point letter and it makes two points. One is to make the security freeze a consumer choice and she said its okay with her to make it "immediate" on either side. The other issue is that customer reports need to be accessed for underwriting and pages 9 and 10 say that one of the exemptions is for a financial contractual relationship or someone you owe. In response to that, she said she would check with Ms. Hall on why any insurance company should be able to get customer reports for their underwriting. CHAIR BUNDE said he would hold this bill.