The federal government has created a Federal Identity Theft Task Force, which is being chaired by the U.S. Attorney General and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. The Task Force, established May 10, 2006, is designed to develop a coordinated strategic plan to combat identity theft, and to recommend ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal government’s activities in the areas of identity theft awareness, prevention, detection, and prosecution. Eighteen federal agencies are participating in the Task Force, which is now seeking formal public comment on ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of federal government efforts to reduce identity theft. Comments must be filed on or before Friday, Jan. 19, 2007.

Reed Smith is prepared to assist you in providing Comments to the Task Force--or to otherwise assist you in recognizing and taking inventory of your data security needs, and establishing procedures and protocols for training and ongoing compliance and incident response. A number of clients have asked that we monitor and summarize state and federal developments, including legislation, regulation and case law development, for their situation on a regular basis. We have also been called upon to help clients in a variety of industries--including pharmaceutical, financial services, retail, health care and web-based services--to analyze possible and actual security breaches to help determine their state and federal reporting and notice obligations, if any.

Mark S. Melodia, a partner in our Princeton office, has represented defendant corporations in national putative class actions alleging that data spills resulted from company negligence or breaches of fiduciary duties: in all cases, the putative class actions were dismissed by the reviewing Court on Reed Smith's motion, voluntarily withdrawn by plaintiffs' counsel or settled on an individual basis. Anthony E. DiResta, a partner in our Washington, D.C. office, was a former senior official at the FTC as a Regional Director, and his practice focuses upon governmental investigations, litigation, and counseling relating to consumer protection issues, including matters involving financial institutions