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Arrest of Celebrity Hacker Highlights Risk to Consumers' Online Information


Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade -- and a leading proponent in Congress for expanded online privacy protections for American consumers -- issued the following statement after the arrest of the so-called "celebrity hacker" in Los Angeles:

"This case exposes the relative ease in which sophisticated hackers can break into accounts online and steal personal information. Whether it's an email, photograph, Social Security number or credit card information, American consumers have an expectation of privacy.

"Today, Americans are under constant assault. As quickly and quietly as a wallet can be stolen by a skilled pickpocket, your personal identity can be hijacked without you knowing it by online hackers and cyber thieves.

"This ever-increasing problem only reinforces my long-held belief that much more needs to be done to protect sensitive personal information. My legislation, The SAFE Data Act (HR 2577), is designed to accomplish this goal by establishing uniform national standards for data security and data breach notification. It's crafted around a guiding principle: consumers should be promptly informed if their personal information has been jeopardized.

"It's time for Congress to take decisive action. Sophisticated and carefully orchestrated cyber attacks -- designed to obtain personal information about consumers, especially when it comes to their credit cards or sensitive personal information -- have become one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises here in the United States and across the world. Yesterday's arrest in Los Angeles of the "celebrity hacker" clearly demonstrates how insidious this problem can be and why American consumers need additional protections."

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