Bill would close potential window for identity theft |

Bill would close potential window for identity theft

The Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee was urged to close yet another potential window thieves can use to steal people’s private information.

Sen. Valerie Wiener, D-Las Vegas, said multi-function copying and fax machines have memory drives in them that store documents copied and transmitted. She said one such machine had something in excess of 240,000 documents in its memory.

Yet there are no requirements those memories be wiped clean before the machines are disposed of or resold to some one.

Wiener said that Senate Bill 267 would require that, “you ensure the data is scrubbed before that machine is released.”

Jim Earl, head of the Technological Crime Advisory Board, said those memories – both hard drives and flash memories – are in everything from large commercial machines to small home/office units now.

Wiener said they are in the units used by places like Kinkos, police departments and insurance companies. She said everything from birth certificates to medical records can be stored, unknown to the owner, in those machines.

She said the legislation was developed during hearings before that board, which is headed by Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

Earl emphasized that the state is far ahead of private industry in protecting personal and private information. He said the bill would require private companies and local governments to make sure private information didn’t get into the wrong hands by selling off old copying and fax equipment.

Earl said for homeowners disposing of their own equipment, they should see if the manual describes how to erase any stored date and, if not, open the machine and destroy the memory physically.

“Take a hammer to it,” he said.