Bill Would Let Victims Of ID Theft Seek Restitution

Yesterday a bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate that would “let victims of identity theft seek restitution for money and time they spent repairing their credit history,” as well as remove some existing barriers to prosecuting criminals.

From the press release by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who co-sponsored the bill with Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.):

The Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act of 2007 would:

  • Give victims of identity theft the ability to seek restitution for the loss of time and money spent restoring credit and remedying the harms of identity theft;
  • Expand the jurisdiction of federal computer fraud statutes to cover small businesses and corporations;
  • Eliminate the prosecutorial requirement that sensitive identity information must have been stolen through an interstate or foreign communication and instead focuses on whether the victim’s computer is used in interstate or foreign commerce, allowing for the prosecutions of cases in which both the identify thief’s computer and the victim’s computer are located in the same state;
  • Make it a felony to employ spyware or keyloggers to damage ten or more computers regardless of the aggregate amount of damage caused, ensuring that the most egregious identity thieves will not escape with a minimal, or no, sentence;
  • Eliminate the requirement that the loss resulting from damage to a victim’s computer must exceed $5,000; under this bill violations resulting in less than $5,000 damage would be criminalized as misdemeanors;
  • Add the crime of threatening to obtain or release information from a protected computer to the definition of a cyber crime and expands the definition of a cyber crime to include demanding money in relation to a protected computer, where the damage to the victim computer was caused to facilitate the extortion. By expanding this definition, violators of this provision are subject to a criminal fine and up to five years in prison.

“Bill would let ID theft victims seek restitution” [Reuters]
“Leahy, Specter Introduce Bill to Add and Toughen Penalties for Identity Theft and Fraud” []

Details of bill at Library of Congress (Since it was just introduced yesterday, not much information is available yet in the public record)
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. starrion says:

    I wonder if any intrusion on to a consumer’s PC would qualify.

  2. MalichiDemonos says:

    @starrion: I would think not but that would spawn a massive lawsuit against Microsoft if it did. Expecially with there most recent hiden patch that they pushed out.

  3. Trai_Dep says:

    My gawd. Legislation to actually help the daily lives of citizens instead of forcing brain-dead Florida women to spend extra decades as a vegetable over the complaints of her husband? No mega-billion-dollar-giveaways to well-connected lobbying clients?! Stop the madness!

  4. SoCalGNX says:

    Looks like not much of anything good here! The local police won’t take reports when your credit card number is stolen and used so why would we expect anything good from the federal level.

  5. Bourque77 says:

    This idea took until now to come around because??

  6. MercuryPDX says:

    Just a question here… how much money do you think you’d get in restitution from someone who needs to steal you identity for a living?

  7. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    You could maybe make an argument in court that if the police doesn’t take your report of a stolen credit card that is being used god knows where, they’re aiding and abetting a criminal….I wonder if that would fly in court.

  8. rhombopteryx says:

    Legislation that expands your ALREADY EXISTING ability to recover $ you lost from a low-life thief who doesn’t have $ in the first place??? Thank god for the US Senate… Now if this gave a restitution right against the Bank/CC Company/Hospital/Mortgage company with sloppy securitythat lost your personal info in the first place, that’d be different.

    This is nothing more than a massive expansion of federal computer crime laws gussied up as ID theft protection. Now anything you do on teh Internets that a prosecutor doesn’t like/understand is a Federal crime. At least the prior version had a $5k threshold before you could be prosecuted. Now, use your mom’s AOL account to check a website = midemeanor??? Post to a blog while on a work computer in violation of your boss’ computer use policy = misdemeanor??? Way to go, Pat and Arlen.

  9. XTC46 says:

    @MercuryPDX: @rhombopteryx:

    well, the thief’s have money, but none that you can have since its probably stolen from others.