WASHINGTON – The theft or loss of personal information from a New York bank on nearly one-million Floridians has spurred renewed calls for passage of identity-theft safeguards that have been languishing in Congress.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson today called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take up a bill that is designed to protect consumers from identity thieves and requires that victims be quickly notified if their personal information is hacked, stolen or lost.

The renewed call for passage of identity security measures comes on the heels of upwards of 740,000 Floridians finding out their information, including bank account numbers, had been lost by the Bank of New York Mellon Shareowner Services.

Both Mellon and Countrywide Financial recently had security breaches, causing Florida’s attorney general to warn customers of the two banks to watch for unauthorized activities in their accounts.

“I request that you bring this legislation to the floor as soon as possible for a full Senate vote,” Nelson wrote to Reid. “American consumers already face spiraling gas prices and a faltering economy; they should not also have to worry about identity thieves cleaning out what’s left in their bank accounts.”

The legislation, the Identity Theft Prevention Act, was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, a panel on which Nelson sits.

The Florida Democrat helped draft several measures in the bill, including sections dealing with corporate protection of sensitive personal information and the creation of an information security and consumer protection advisory committee within the Federal Trade Commission.

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