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Broad Alliance Forms To Fight ID Fraud

The new Center for Identity Management and Information Protection will focus on issues related to identity management, information-sharing policy, and data protection.

Government, law enforcement, business and academia on Wednesday launched a research group that hopes to become the clearinghouse for the latest information in the battle against identity fraud.

The Center for Identity Management and Information Protection will be based at Utica College in New York, and focus its research on issues related to identity management, information sharing policy, and data protection, officials said in unveiling the group at a Washington, D.C. news conference.

Organizations that have joined the alliance include LexisNexis, IBM, the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, Carnegie Mellon University, Indiana University, and Syracuse University.

Gary R. Gordon, a nationally known expert in economic crime and a professor at Utica College, will head the center, whose agenda will be guided by the board of advisers to the college's Economic Crime Institute and by a research steering committee comprised of participants in the center.

"There has been considerable research done on identity fraud, but it's been piecemeal," Gordon said in an interview. "What the center will do is develop a comprehensive research plan that will be dynamic, changing as issues change over the years."

Among the group's advantages as a researcher will be in gaining access to government and corporate data that isn't available to other organizations, Gordon said. Some of that data will come from participants in the CIMIP.

"We've built a network of trust," he said. "We're going to be able to get data that hasn't been studied before, and that will lead to many positive outcomes."

Research will focus on the causes, early detection and prevention of ID theft and fraud. In addition, the group will focus on the evolving threat from cyber criminals, insiders, and organized crime groups; and the impact and role of policy decisions, legislation, and regulatory actions.

The CIMIP also will look for ways to improve ID authentication systems to reduce fraud and improper payments, and to protect national security. Finally, the group will investigate the role of enabling technologies to protect information and privacy and to share information.

Research findings and other resources would be made available through the center's Website. The CIMIP also plans to sponsor symposia to share research findings with decision makers in corporate, government, and academic organizations.

"The Center for Identity Management and Information Protection will put the right focus on the issues that need to be discussed at all levels of government and the private sector in order to ensure that as technology continues to advance, it is coupled with the strong safeguards and effective policies to prevent identity theft and protect our personal data," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., said in a statement announcing the formation of the center.

James H. Burrus, acting assistant director of the criminal investigative division of the FBI, said the agency planned to use CIMIP research to better protect the nation.

"Identity theft is a growing problem with significant negative effects on American businesses and individual citizens and potentially disastrous effects on U.S. national security," Burrus said.

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