Media Advisory
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Identity theft symposium

Contact: Susan Gluss, UC Berkeley School of Law
(510) 642-6936

26 February 2009

ATTENTION: Technology, business, political, and legal writers and editors


A one-day symposium on identity theft and security breaches. Experts from law, government, computer science and economics will discuss laws that protect personal information and suggest reforms to strengthen them.

Although most agree that reforms are needed, leading thinkers clash on what the solutions should be. Questions remain concerning the scope of security breach laws, their effectiveness and cost. Critics argue that notification laws are wasteful and that most breaches aren't connected to identity theft. Supporters say the laws create vital incentives to safeguard information and reveal hidden cracks in security.

The symposium begins with a session on California's security breach law and continues with a look at current research and proposed reforms by the state's top policy makers and scholars.


Friday, March 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


UC Berkeley School of Law, Booth Auditorium (intersection of Bancroft Way and Piedmont Ave.). To view campus map, visit:


Conference participants and their topics will include:

  • Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto); author of California's security breach notification law and keynote speaker on Senate Bill 20. He will speak about a proposed update to the original 2003 bill.

  • Joanne McNabb, chief of the California Office of Privacy Protection, who will talk about the impact of the state's security policies

  • Reece Hirsch, a partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, whose topic will be security breach law

  • Deirdre Mulligan, assistant professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information, speaking about corporate investments in security

  • Peter Swire, professor of law at Ohio State University. He will talk about security breaches caused by insiders using data improperly.

  • Paul Schwartz, professor of law at UC Berkeley and director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology. He will moderate the conference.

    Conference information and the agenda is online at: The program is free for public interest groups and media. Registration is required for the general public. For more information, go to:

    In 2003, California led the nation in enacting Security Breach Notification laws, which require many businesses and government agencies to alert consumers when personal information has been lost or stolen. In the past six years, many breaches - compromising hundreds of millions of records about individuals - have been disclosed, While some policymakers want to strengthen laws that protect information, others say stronger laws are expensive and ineffective.

    The conference is being sponsored by Berkeley Center for Law & Technology; Berkeley Technology Law Journal; Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic; and the Shidler Center for Law, Commerce & Technology.