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Entenza touts vets' protection plan

WORTHINGTON -- Current measures to protect Minnesota veteran identification data theft victims is inadequate, State Representative Matt Entenza said here Thursday while offering what he called "Operation Veteran Protection."

Speaking at Worthington Regional Airport and flanked by several local veterans, the DFL candidate for Minnesota Attorney General said he will work with other state legislators to expand Minnesotans' data privacy collections.

He called on the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs to form a public-private task force to proactively protect theft victims, close loopholes that allow financial institutions to avoid data theft victim notification requirements, strengthen regulations restricting personal data sales and increase penalties for persons who abuse fiduciary responsibility and profits from the sale of personal data.

"The reality is that our penalties now for identity theft are way too low. And we have to increase those penalties," Entenza said. "We have an awesome responsibility. The people who served us, many of you who are here today, your financial futures are in jeopardy."

The St. Paul lawmaker, who grew up in Worthington, said some veterans have received letters from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs informing them of the theft of a computer containing names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses. But not all citizens potentially affected by the incident have been notified.

"The implementation of notification has not been good," Entenza charged.

Entenza said more than 426,000 Minnesota veterans were placed at risk because of computer theft, or nearly one of every 10 in the state.

"This is, quite frankly, the Hurricane Katrina of ID theft," he said.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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