Kudos again to the Maryland Legislature!  In this session, they tackled some of the toughest privacy and data protection issues.  On April 11th, I wrote about the bill they passed forbidding employers from asking for social media passwords from prospective job applicants. At the end of last week, they passed a first of its kind bill addressing one of the terrible results from criminals who steal identity information from children — that being, that children might not know their identity information’s been stolen until they get older (an issue I previously wrote about on my blog as well as on the FraudAvengers.org blog).

HR 555, the “Child Identity Lock Bill” was sponsored by Delegate Craig Zucker and passed with bi-partisan support.  The bill allows parents to contact credit agencies and put a freeze on their child’s credit.  Under current Maryland law, credit agencies have to put a security freeze on the credit of anyone requesting it.  The problem is, under current law, the agencies can refuse such requests if the person making the request doesn’t have a pre-existing credit report — an obvious problem for children.  The new law addresses this problem for parents of children 16 years and younger at the time of the request.

HR 555 also permits such requests from legal guardians of adults who are incapacitated — another welcome and important fix.  In requesting the freeze, parents or guardians will have to contact the credit agency and provide identification for the person for whom they are seeking the freeze (e.g., SSN or birth certificate). In crafting this bill, Delegate Zucker and other Maryland lawmakers worked with representatives from advocacy groups and from credit rating agencies — a positive and productive collaboration.  Let’s hope that other States follow Maryland’s lead on the privacy-enhancing measures they’ve passed this session.

The Governor is expected to sign the bill which would become effective January 1, 2013.