Identity theft and Prop-ID

We’ve recently added a paper from the Criminal Justice Review to our bibliography. It’s called Understanding Identity Theft: Offenders’ Accounts of Their Lives and Crimes. This fascinating paper clearly explains the highly misunderstood topic of identity theft. The authors conducted interviews with people convicted of identity theft in the United States and asked them to talk about their crimes. The study revealed that identity theft is by no means a white collar crime – it is a crime perpetrated by people from all walks of life.

The paper explains some of the most common ways in which the crime is committed. It reveals the techniques employed by thieves in obtaining personal information. Data from a driver’s licence, a health card, a credit card or practically any form of ID can facilitate identity theft. The notion that a corrupt employee in a bank or even a government agency might sell your personal information to an identity thief is not something that anyone wants to think about. Alas, it is a reality. Not even the most well-established institution should be trusted unreservedly with your personal information.

The wide-scale adoption of privacy protective concepts championed by the Prop-ID project, such as minimal/selective disclosure and minimum/maximum retention periods, would certainly make the commission of identity theft a lot less easy. And every citizen who uses ID in any form would benefit from the knowledge conveyed in this paper.