Experts to form ID theft research center
By WILLIAM KATES, Associated Press Writer
An alliance of businesses, colleges and federal crime fighters will
combine their expertise at a new research center that will study the
problems of identity theft and fraud.
Founding partners of the Center for Identity Management and
Information Protection include LexisNexis Inc. and IBM Corp., the
U.S. Secret Service and the FBI. Participating schools include
Carnegie Mellon University, Indiana University and Syracuse
The center will be established in upstate New York at Utica College,
which pioneered the nation's first curriculum on white-collar crime in
Research will focus on critical issues in identity management,
information sharing policy and data protection, said Dr. Gary Gordon,
a Utica College professor and expert in cybercrime and identity fraud.
"The first thing we have to do is better understand the size and scope
of the issue," Gordon said.
Officials were to announce creation of the center Wednesday in
Washington, D.C. and in Utica.
"We all know it's a major problem in society, and a potentially
dangerous problem. It cuts across every aspect -- commerce, national
security, government, our private lives. There is a tremendous need,
though, for more research," Gordon said.
One recent survey reported that there have been more than 28 million
new identity theft victims since 2003, but Gordon said it's likely
that just as many incidents go undetected or unreported.
In May, up to 26.5 million people were exposed to possible identity
theft and fraud when a Veterans Affairs Department data analyst's
laptop computer was stolen from his home in suburban Maryland. The
laptop contained names, birth dates and Social Security numbers.
So far, there have been no identity crimes linked to the VA theft, but
lesser incidents have become commonplace.
"Identity theft has become rampant in our society and to better combat
the problem we need bold, new and innovative solutions," said
U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y.,
chairman of the House Science Committee.
Tracy Mitrano, director of information technology policy at Cornell
University, applauded the center's creation.
"We really don't have a coherent legal framework for privacy in this
country," she said. "We have piecemeal laws that were adopted for
particular reasons. We need a center like this to help us learn more
about what people are doing with information ... and how it relates to
our laws, ethics and values."
Secret Service Deputy Director Brian Nagel agreed that it will require
a comprehensive examination of the problem for officials to improve
prevention and detection as well as develop technological solutions
and new policies.
"This will begin a dialogue and interaction on how to do better, on
what tools are needed, on how we can improve policy," he said.
One of the initial research projects at the center will examine
current and emerging criminal groups that perpetrate identity fraud
and theft, with a focus on their methods of operation. It also will
look at developing stronger identity authentication systems.
The center will share its research through training sessions,
symposiums, publications and its Web site.
On the Web:
Center for Identity Management and Information Protection:
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
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