Privacy legislation and how it can affect you!

Today, the titles to cars, boats, and planes; property and tax records; life insurance policies, investment records, details on personal shopping habits, political affiliations, and health care records, are all digitized and filed away in somebody’s database. Privacy legislation can have an effect on how they are accessed or obtained.

Optimally, access to all this data should ease the burden on investigators and attorneys to find witnesses and track down assets. However, pending legislation puts legitimate database access in danger.

The problem is complex. According to, between January 10, 2005 and March 2, 2010, a whopping 346,512,902 private database records, containing sensitive personal information, were compromised due to security breaches. This is the statistical equivalent of more than one record compromised for each man, woman, and child in the United States.

Current reports from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) show a 21% increase in ID theft during 2008 over previous years, and aggregate annual losses to consumers and businesses hovering around $50 billion. In reality, however, these numbers are much larger because not all breaches are tabulated by any single source. The exact number for many of the known breaches and records lost, compromised, or stolen is unknown.

In an effort to quell this tide of data-jacking, federal legislation H.R 3306, the “Social Security Number Privacy and Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2009,” casts a wide net of restrictions on how SSNs and other personal information may be accessed, trending toward the European-style (EU) privacy environment.

Proponents of the proposed legislation assert that the bill is balanced, permitting exceptions to the rules and granting access to critical data for legitimate purposes, while better protecting individuals from piracy of their private stats.
On the other side, increased controls by banks, financial institutions, and data providers spell doom to instant information access on witnesses, defendants, and other third parties. Property ownership, vehicle crash records, criminal histories, and liens and judgments will be much more difficult to access. Cost effective and near-immediate results will be preempted.

This diminished ability to locate and identify witnesses, defendants, and third parties, including the eventual removal of dates of birth, addresses, and other identifiers, translates to INCREASED COSTS to locate people and information. Simply put, provisions in this bill prohibit attorneys, businesses, and private investigators from using the most successful means of searching, which affects YOUR ability to represent YOUR clients and protect YOUR businesses.

The Legislative Committee of the National Council of Investigative and Security Services opposes such legislation. Our lobbyists are pushing for strong EXEMPTION language to protect your bottom line. Your support in this effort is critical.

Be aware this is happening. Be prepared to support lobbying efforts and contact your representatives when requested. Push for EXEMPTION language and stay informed! Privacy legislation affects you! ~~~