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Experian rejects ID theft notification proposal

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Credit rating giant Experian has rejected the notion of automatically informing UK citizens when their ID details may have been hijacked.

Experian’s hardline stance came at a conference on “Big Brother Britain” in London today, where a number of speakers said that more severe penalties and obligations should be imposed on companies to ensure data individuals' privacy concerns are taken seriously.

Anna Fielder, policy consultant at the National Consumer Council, said the UK should follow the example of California, where companies who expose individuals’ data have to contact and notify the individuals concerned.

She added that the UK should adopt another US trend, where customers have the right to lock or freeze their credit records, with companies only able to access records on the individual’s say so.

However, Gillian Key-Vice, Experience’s director of regulatory affairs, rejected the idea of a notification scheme.

Key-Vice said that while she recognised why people might “think it’s a good idea”, such a scheme could cause “unnecessary concern” amongst individuals where a breach has already been “managed”.

She said if a security breaches are discovered, organizations should go to the Information Commissioner’s Office, and discuss whether a general notification is necessary.

She added that customers were able to add a notification to their credit records if their identity had been compromised.

Fielder said what the NCC wanted was for customers to have the right to “freeze” access to their credit records ahead of any potential breach.

Dr Ian Forbes, a consultant social scientist at Fig One Solutions, said the regulations in California amounted to a “continuous public plebiscite” which meant customers could choose to avoid companies that were sloppy in their protection of customer data.®

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