Like every other citizen, modern genealogists also live their lives on an internet populated by identity thieves.
The Center for Identity at The University of Texas at Austin (UTCID) has launched IDWise, a state funded online resource and one-stop-shop for consumer-friendly tips, articles, games and videos on how to manage and secure personal information for individuals, businesses and families. https://identity.utexas.edu/idwise
I was privileged to participate in a well-attended event at the Alumni Center at The University of Texas at Austin campus on October 7, 2014.
The Press Release announcing the public launch of ID Wise and the background of the Keynote Speakers is found here: Launch-IDWise
The event was prominently featured that day on the Austin NBC affiliate KXAN:
http://kxan.com/2014/10/07/identity-thieves-targeting-kids-according-to-ut-researchers/ (both accessed 22 October 2014)
The Center’s multi-disciplinary research program brings together diverse expertise vital to identity management, security and privacy advances: Law, Technology, Public Policy, Social Sciences, Business and Communications. An overview of the Research Program is found here: Center-for-Identity-Research
The educational materials developed by the Center were most on display and featured an ID Protection Toolkit here. Their ID Recovery Toolkit was also displayed here. Another popular attraction at the event was an educational video game called “Beat the Thief.“
Among the most provocative observations shared with the audience were those found in the remarks of Congressman John Carter (R-31st TX) in which he described the international nature of the threat of identity theft and how several young Russian billionaires had acquired their wealth. Judge Carter cemented his place as one recognizing early on the serious threat posed by identity thieves with his success in proposing legislation designed to fit the punishment to the damage done by the crime. Although not specifically cited, I believed he was referring to H.R. 1731 (The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act) which became Public Law No: 108-275 on 07/15/2004.
My expectation is that we can all be beneficiaries of the research and educational efforts of the Center for Identity designed to make the internet a safer place. My hope is that we will explore ways in which the genealogical community might collaborate with them in that effort.