A U.S. task force which has been created to curb identity theft has urged federal agencies of the US to help protect consumers by ceasing unnecessary use of Social Security numbers.
A plan which was put forward by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission has recommended that the Congress should toughen and expand existing laws so as to make some identity thieves face a mandatory two-year sentence. The identity theft prevention task force, which are chaired by the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, was established by the White House (the US). It currently includes 17 federal agencies and departments such as the Homeland Security Department and the U.S. Postal Service. The new plan has called for measures requiring the private sector to safeguard personal data and notify consumers when a breach occurs and for creating a national identity theft law enforcement center for coordinating police investigations. The identity theft prevention task force has also recommended legislative changes to help federal prosecutors charge those who use spyware, which can harvest personal data from a user's computer. The Center for Democracy and Technology has said that the government's new identity theft plan has been a good start but broader protections are required for protection of consumer data and personal information.