Texas Lawmaker Files Bill in Response to ChoicePoint Security Breach

The Texas House of Representatives reported that on the heels of the revelation of a major security breach at data broker ChoicePoint, State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, Austin, has introduced a measure to give Texas consumers the right to know when crooks infringe on their financial DNA.

“We only know about the ChoicePoint fiasco because security breach legislation enacted in California requires notification when consumer data are compromised,” said Rodriguez. “Texans should have the same right to know, so they can take steps to protect themselves.”

The bill, HB 1527, would require companies to alert their customers if a breach of security has put them at risk of identity theft. Recent reports that a fraud ring gained access to the personal and financial information of an estimated 11,081 Texans from computer databases maintained by ChoicePoint Inc. This incidence underscores the need for tougher safeguards to protect Texas consumers against identity theft. The ChoicePoint files that were compromised contained such sensitive information as Social Security numbers linked to names and addresses. Already, an estimated 750 people were reportedly targets of an identity theft scheme as a result of the ChoicePoint security breach.

“Creditors and identity thieves alike are routinely given the key to the database vaults,” said Luke Metzger, an Advocate with the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG). “When businesses mess up, they need to own up, and they need to alert consumers that they may be at risk”