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Last modified: Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bloomington Herald-Times articles

February 14, 2008

Our opinion: Identify theft bill hacked to pieces

Last week, an Indiana Senate subcommittee hacked into a bill designed to protect consumers from identity theft, stripping it of all but two provisions.

The first allows for an unfunded allowance in the Indiana attorney general's budget to be used for educational campaigns warning consumers about identity theft. While relevant consumer education is always a good idea, it hardly makes up for the enhanced reporting requirements the original bill would have placed on companies who experience data breaches that have an impact on consumer privacy.

The other surviving provision closes a loophole by requiring that when a laptop computer or other portable storage device is found with password-protected files, that breach must be reported.

Co-written by Indiana University graduate student Chris Soghoian and state Rep. Matt Pierce, the original proposal contained terms that would have required industry-standard encryption practices designed to protect consumer data, as well as centralized reporting of security breaches. Modeled on existing laws, the bill would have made Indiana the first state in the U.S. to require that all breach reports be posted online on the attorney general's Web site.

According to Soghoian's blog on the subject, lobbying from AT&T, Verizon, Microsoft and LexisNexis — all companies that rely heavily on online commerce — led to the dismantling of what would have been important consumer legislation.

As Attorney General Steve Carter has noted, several million people become victims of identity theft in the U.S. every year. It's not too late for comprehensive consumer protections to be added back into the identity theft bill. Indiana legislators should take a step forward in safeguarding consumer privacy and re-introduce more consequential provisions into this legislation.

Roth still belives in Coach

Despite the cloud of doubt hovering over the Indiana basketball program, signee Matt Roth remains loyal in his commitment to Kelvin Sampson.

Roth, a senior from Washington, Ill., said Wednesday night that he stands behind the embattled coach and still intends on playing for him next year.

"It's been hard seeing all the negative coverage over the past week or so," Roth said by phone. "When I first heard (about the NCAA allegations), I was a little shocked. I thought they were going in the right direction as a program. But I still believe in Coach Sampson 110 percent and I plan on being there."

Sampson's fate could be determined Friday when athletic director Rick Greenspan gives a recommendation to Indiana President Michael McRobbie.

Roth said he hasn't thought a lot about the possibility of Sampson not being Indiana's coach next year.

"Right now, I'm just focusing on our season here," he said. "I can't really speculate on that because I don't know what's going to happen. All I know is that I'm going to get a call soon after that that's either a positive call or a negative call."

Roth said after this season he would sit down with his parents and Washington head coach Kevin Brown and discuss his options.

He added that he spoke with Sampson and IU assistant Jeff Meyer this past weekend about the situation, and assured the coaches he intended on staying loyal to his commitment.

"He's still a great coach in my opinion," he said. "You can just tell that he got his team to play their best ball at this point in the season against teams like Michigan State and Purdue. And it takes a lot of guts to face up against all the criticism he has had to deal with. He's still a great coach in my opinion. I'm a big fan of him and I wish him the best. It hurts to see this, because you love the program so much."

Roth said he hasn't been contacted by any other schools in case he does indeed decided to play somewhere besides Indiana.

His Washington Panthers have one more regular season game remaining before the state tournament begins. He's currently the Illinois state record holder in 3-pointers.

IU police department now in new location

Indiana University police have a new place to call home.

After years of cramped quarters on North Jordan Avenue, the department recently moved into the old Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity house, 1469 E. 17th St.

The three-story building will be used primarily for the department. The third floor is reserved for the IU Foundation.

IUPD Capt. Jerry Minger said the new space gives employees an opportunity to spread out.

Minger previously shared an office with Sgt. Craig Munroe. Now the two have separate offices with their second story windows offering a view of the soccer stadium.

"This gives us a birds-eye view of the Little 500," Minger said.

Some officers have individual offices, and members of the investigations unit now have three offices to share.

Sgt. Steve Fiscus and Sgt. Leslie Slone each have individual offices separated by a larger space designated for the remaining detectives.

For daily operations, three offices are marked as a squad room, shift commander's office and clerical office.

The three separate rooms are have glass windows that make it easier for employees to see who is in. A new training room, a roomy dispatcher/radio room and locker room also added much needed space for the police.

The old location at 801 N. Jordan Avenue was shared with Residential Programs and Services. Minger said, over the years, the university has looked for a place to move the police department and even considered using one of the parking garages.

"It just never seemed to work out," he said.

Once the building was ready, the police did most of their own moving due to the sensitive nature of files, evidence and equipment.

"I hauled computers up here in my own truck," Minger said.

The move puts the department near a lot of the university's fraternities and sororities. Minger hopes the move will encourage a positive relationship between police and the greek organizations.

"My suggestion was to put IUPD in Greek letters," Minger joked.