Iowa eyes an identity clearinghouse

Iowa eyes an identity clearinghouse

Iowa CIO Richard Varn said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have increased the need to be able to authenticate individual identity documents.

Iowa's IT Department is creating an identity security clearinghouse to foil criminals who try to conceal their identity or steal someone else's.

Department officials said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have increased the need to be able to authenticate individual identity documents.

Iowa CIO Richard Varn said the clearinghouse would ensure that only one identity document, such as a driver's license, would be issued for each document such as a birth certificate.

Varn said individuals should have only one driver's license or Social Security number, but 'the systems we have now assist crooks rather than prevent them' from concealing or hijacking identities.

In addition to developing the identity clearinghouse, the IT Department is working with the state's attorney general to draft a bill that would create a state Identity Theft Advocate.

The advocate's office would contact credit bureaus and other businesses to help limit the damage from an identity theft incident, according to Ken Adrian, the department's e-commerce coordinator. The bill likely will be presented to the Iowa Legislature in 2003, Adrian said. No other state has named an identity theft advocate, he said.

As part of the clearinghouse project, the IT Department is working with the Public Health Department to develop a short-form death certificate to speed the process of digitally recording deaths.

Citizen access

Adrian said the IT Department is considering creating a database within the state's data warehouse. The department's Teradata warehouse from NCR Corp. of Dayton, Ohio, runs under Unix, database administrator Bhupesh Singu said.

'We are also looking at ways of letting citizens see how their identity has been used, so they can self-monitor the use or misuse of their identity,' Adrian said.

Department officials said the clearinghouse would link identity documents such as driver's licenses and passports with other documents affecting identity: birth certificates, death records, court filings such as marriage licenses and name changes, and Social Security Administration records.

For example, a birth certificate would be electronically tied to the Transportation Department's database of driver's license photographs.

Iowa IT Department officials are working on the project with other state and federal agencies and with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, which advocates stricter identity standards.

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