INDIANAPOLIS (July 14, 2006) – Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri is to be commended for recognizing the many serious flaws in an onerous and unwarranted security breach bill that he vetoed this week, according to the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC).
The bill, H-6835, “An Act Relating to Criminal Offenses – Identity Theft Protection,” was passed by the General Assembly despite strong opposition from a broad coalition of business organizations including the insurance industry.
“Governor Carcieri’s veto is good news for Rhode Island businesses and consumers,” commented Paul Tetrault, NAMIC state affairs manager for the Northeast. “This bill would have placed unreasonable burdens on businesses while producing confusion, rather than protection, for consumers.”
Rhode Island already has a statute that addresses security breach and identity theft concerns, Tetrault noted. “As the governor recognized, this bill would have created substantial unintended problems while potentially producing no appreciable benefits.”
In his veto message, Governor Carcieri pointed out that the bill not only would fail to achieve its purported goals but also would create a confusing and burdensome scheme of requirements affecting a broad range of sales and marketing transactions. The bill “does both too much and too little,” the governor wrote. “It does not establish any new preventative measures that could reasonably reduce identify theft. It does establish a complex scheme of new disclosure and documentation requirements on business and others, but ironically a scheme that promises only to confuse the very consumers it purports to aid.”
Governor Carcieri voiced agreement with criticisms raised by the business community that the bill contained multiple and conflicting definitions of “personal information,” and that it was overly broad in the scope of businesses and transactions to which it would apply.
The governor also pointed out that just last year he signed a balanced law “that provided security to consumers consistent with the needs of the business that provide goods and services to them.” Enactment of another law in this area “is likely to create consumer misunderstanding and confusion and does not allow time to understand the effectiveness of the existing statute,” which became effective in March of this year, he wrote.
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