Sunday, May 15, 2005

Consumers Should Have Far More Control Over Their Information

Privacy experts' wish list from

Consumers should also be allowed to place freezes on their credit reports, they suggest. Currently, consumers are not notified when a creditor views their report. That can facilitate identity theft, since a lender might grant a thief credit in the victim's name without the victim's knowledge.

A freeze would mean a consumer would have to grant permission to any party wishing to view his credit report.

Right now, credit freezes are permitted in only four states -- California, Texas, Vermont and Louisiana.

This seems like a pretty obvious move that should have been made years ago. It seems the money given to legislators that don't want people to have control over private personal information has prevent such moves thusfar. Maybe enough people have had their identities stolen to final get some action. At some point the number of people having their identities stolen will finally overcome the resistance (created largely by donations - no other explanation make much sense) legislative action.

The only argument I have heard from legislators for allowing consumers to control their private information is that the consumers don't understand the harm they would cause themselves if they placed such a freeze on their account - that the consumers don't understand that means they might have to wait days (or even weeks) to get new credit. If the legislators actually believe that the government knows better than the individual the balance what that consumer wants (between having their private information shared and the speed at which the consumer will get credit) it seems their are many other decisions that legislator would support government making for the consumer. That doesn't seem like the real reason most of those who have prevent such legislation. It seems more likely the money given by those that wants to prevent consumers from having the right to protect their private information is having the desired effect and preventing such legislation (and if not completely preventing it, then limiting the effect of any such legislation).

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