|Received:||6/15/2004 6:00:00 PM|
|Organization:||Office of the Judge Advocate General, Department of the Navy|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Identity Theft Proposed Rule|
The Commission asks the following questions relating to the definition of “identity theft”:
a. Does the term “identity theft” as defined by the FACTA need further definition? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, as discussed in answers to question c, d, and e the term “identity theft” as defined by the FACTA needs further definition to expand and clarify its meaning under the Act.
b. Should the Commission define the term “identifying information” to have the same meaning and “means of identification” in 18 U.S.C. §1028(d)(7)? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes. As the Commission points out, the criminal code’s definition of “means of identification” covers the appropriate range of identifying information and ensures that the term “identity theft” addresses the relevant permutations of fraud that might occur. Additionally, the Commission accurately states, it ensures consistency with existing Federal law defining what constitutes identity theft, which promotes clarity and ease of application.
c. Should the Commission add the element of “attempt” to the definition of the term “identity theft?” If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes. As the Commission indicates a thief’s attempt to open a new account may be recorded as an inquiry on a victim’s consumer report and such inquiries may have an adverse affect on the victim’s credit score.
d. Should the Commission add the element that a person’s identifying information must be used without such person’s knowledge to the definition of the term “identity theft?” If so, why? If not, why not?
No. This would not seem to protect the consumer who knowingly provides identifying information to an organization misrepresenting itself as a legitimate lender or credit company that then uses the identifying information to commit identity theft.
e. Should the Commission add the element that a person’s identifying information must be used without such person’s lawful authority to the definition of the term “identity theft?” If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes. As the Commission states, this would prevent individuals from colluding with each other to obtain goods or services without paying for them, and then availing themselves of the rights conferred by the FACTA to clear their credit records of the negative, but legitimate information.
f. Are there additional elements that the Commission should add to the definition of the term “identity theft?” If so, what should these elements be? What would be the advantages or disadvantages of adding these elements?
No, other than as discussed in answers to question c, d, and e.
The Commission asks the following question relating to the duration of the “active duty alert”:
a. Should the Commission maintain the duration of the active duty alert at the minimum statutorily determined length of 12 months as proposed? If so, why? If not, why not?
The active duty alert should remain at 12 months. While world events have increased the deployment length for several ships in the past three years the deployments have not exceeded twelve months. Moreover, while the War on Terrorism is causing a philosophy shift in Navy operations, it may lead to shorter, more frequent deployments. In any event it is difficult to envision a circumstance where Navy ships, squadrons or personnel deploy for greater than twelve months on a frequent basis. As discussed in the answer to question d, in the event that a deployment is extended to a period greater than 12 months, Navy personnel will in most circumstances have access to a method of communication needed to extend an active duty alert.
b. Should the Commission set an alternate length of time for the duration of the active duty alert? If so, what should the appropriate length of time be? What would be the advantages or disadvantages of this alternate approach?
No. See above answer. The disadvantage of a longer duration for the active duty alert is that service members may need to remove the alert instead of allowing it to expire. For understandable security reasons it will be more difficult to remove an alert than it is to place one. Delays experienced in removing an alert can negatively impact an individual’s ability to establish lines of credit or procure loans. Additionally, a 12-month duration for an alert strikes the balance of meeting the active duty military member’s needs without being an undue burden on consumers or creditors.
c. What fraction of active duty military consumers is likely to find the 12-month duration too short to cover their entire deployment?
It is difficult to pinpoint an exact percentage, however based on historical deployment lengths of ships and squadrons, the vast majority of deploying personnel in the Navy deploy for a period of less than 12 months in a single deployment.
d. How difficult will it be for active duty military consumers who receive intensive training or extended deployments to place, or to have a personal representative place another active duty alert if their initial alert expires before the end of the term of their deployment?
Navy personnel on extended deployments will in most circumstances have access to Email, regular U.S. Mail and/or a commercial phone line at least during a portion of the deployment. Assuming one of these methods of communication will be sufficient to establish or extend an active duty alert then it should not be difficult for a service member to accomplish. Additionally, deploying units frequently hold predeployment briefings at which deploying personnel can be briefed on the active duty alert and the option of identifying a personal representative capable of extending the active duty alert if it becomes necessary.