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February 09, 2010

Illinois Federal Judge rules that FACTA does not apply to e-merchants

In the case of Shlahtichman v. 1-800 Contacts, Inc., U.S. District Judge John Darrah ruled that FACTA's truncation requirements for "printed" receipts does not apply to e-mails sent to purchasers by internet merchants.

The theory, according to Judge Darrah, behind FACTA's requirement that credit card numbers and expiration dates be truncated on receipts, is that such truncation would help prevent "low tech" types of identity theft such as dumpster diving.  According to Judge Darrah, an e-mail sent to a e-purchaser does not fall under the definition of "printed receipt" since its not actually printed, merely e-mailed.  While that is true, I disagree that an e-mail is not a risk for identity theft.  Why should FACTA not try to prevent high tech identity theft as well?

While Judge Darrah is technically correct in his ruling, Congress should take note of his ruling and amend the law to fix this loophole and, in the age of the information superhighway, help protect us all, not just those who do not partake of e-commerce.

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