Friday, January 23, 2009

“NABOPIA” against Identity Theft:“ “Notifying Americans before Outsourcing Personal Information Act”

Worried about foreign governmental rules that might discriminate against American-sourced IT services? You should be.

Here’s a cute draft U.S. law that would require discrimination against foreign service providers processing personally identifiable information regarding American citizens. H.R. 427, 111th Cong., 1st Sess., introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R., Tex.) would prohibit any “business” (defined as a financial institution collecting personally identifiable information) from transferring “personally identifiable information regarding a citizen of the United States to any foreign affiliate or subcontractor located in another country without providing that citizen written notice that such information may be transferred to such foreign affiliate or subcontractor.”

It gets better. The proposal would create a private right of action “to obtain damages, including compensatory and punitive; to obtain injunctive relief; and to obtain any other compensation, … in State court.”

The “NABOPIA” bill would nab all financial transactions. U.S. financial institutions would be liable for a reporting error (NABOPIA) rather than for actually transferring data across borders. Sort of like nabbing Al Capone on tax evasion rather than other crimes. Never mind that Canada, Switzerland and the European Union don’t discriminate against IT service providers based on the location of the service delivery center. Never mind that such discrimination violates the WTO Agreement on Trade in Services.

NABOPIA – sounds like UTOPIA.

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