Alaska House Passes Personal Information Protection Act

Bill contains seven articles that deal with all areas of personal information and the rights and protections of consumers.

by / February 28, 2008

The Alaska House of Representatives unanimously passed HB 65, legislation offering sweeping expansions and reforms of the state's consumer protection and identity theft laws. The Personal Information Protection Act, sponsored by Representatives John Coghill and Les Gara, contains seven articles that deal with all areas of personal information and the rights and protections consumers have and can expect from individuals and businesses that handle their personal information.

"Times have changed from the days when Alaskans could be reasonably sure that handing over their personal information wouldn't result in fraud or identity theft. Thanks to the Internet and the sheer volume of forms and businesses that now have access to our personal information, it is important to have guidelines on how that personal information is handled," said Rep. Coghill. "You want businesses and other organizations to be able to use that information, however, if someone reaches inside and accesses it, you need the ability to freeze your personal information and have some recourse.

"This bill endeavors to create those tools that are absolutely necessary for industry and consumers to have safeguards and rules with which to operate," added Rep. Coghill.

The main articles in the Personal Information Protection Act are:

  • Breach of Security of Personal Information -- requires disclosure of breaches of security involving personal information, including avenues of recourse and penalties for failing to notify
  • Credit Report and Credit Score Security Freeze -- allows consumers to freeze and unfreeze access to their personal information at their discretion for a minimal fee
  • Protection of Social Security Number -- by restricting sale and distribution
  • Disposal of Records -- requires complete destruction of electronic and paper records that contain personal information
  • Right to File Police Report Regarding Identity Theft -- allowing a person that falls victim to identity theft to make a factual declaration of innocence
  • Truncation of Card Information -- setting up guidelines for use of card numbers on receipts, which codifies in statute a practice that is fast becoming common business practice
  • General Provisions -- provides definitions for terms within the chapter, and cites the short title of the bill as the Alaska Personal Information Protection Act

HB 65 will be transmitted to the Senate for consideration.

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