As far as I'm concerned, all of the proposals and comments share one fundamental flaw: They focus on the nature of the person or entity attacked, rather than on the nature of the attacker. Sooner or later someone has to understand that what we don't want is the Department of Homeland Security chasing the same people as the FBI, the CIA, the Federal Trade Commission, and even the CFPB. And that is precisely what will happen until Washington understands that that same 21-year-old Iranian (if he actually exists) could be used to hack the power grid, or issue phony security certificates, or infiltrate a bank, or send e-mails to you and me pretending to be the AICPA. It's like reading the work of John Dos Passos—you know that all the characters are related to one another, you just don't know how. Bad laws, whether well-intentioned or in a campaign to generate good press, are still bad laws.
However, there was one statement made on the Senate floor, by Joe Lieberman, with which I can heartily agree. In noting the urgent need for action of some kind, and welcoming other legislative proposals, he said that the danger was such that to him "it feels like September 10, 2001."
Adam Levin is chairman and cofounder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. His experience as former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs gives him unique insight into consumer privacy, legislation and financial advocacy. He is a nationally recognized expert on identity theft and credit.