ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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IDSP to Explore Standards on Measuring Identity Theft

New York, Feb 27, 2009

Participants in the Identity Theft Prevention and Identity Management Standards Panel (IDSP) have agreed to undertake further work to explore the need for standards on measuring identity theft. The agreement was reached at the launch meeting of an IDSP workshop on this subject held February 23-24, 2009 in Pleasanton, California.

Administered by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the IDSP is a cross-sector initiative where the private and public sectors come together to dialogue on the need for voluntary standards and guidelines to fight identity theft and fraud.

The IDSP workshop grew out of a concern that controversies about research methodologies make it difficult to measure how well the marketplace is doing in combating identity theft and fraud, posing a challenge to industry, law enforcement and consumers. The workshop posed the question whether standards are desirable and feasible for measuring and reporting on identity theft and data breach trends, identity theft protection services and information security solutions. Existing research and practices relating to these issues were discussed by various experts in the field.

While reporting on identity theft was seen as a somewhat subjective field for standardization, the consensus was that standards for measuring the problem warrant further investigation. To that end, three working groups were established. The first working group will compile an inventory of existing glossaries of identity theft terms and identify any that may be causing confusion in the marketplace. The second group will catalog recent research on identity theft and data breach trends, identity theft protection services and information security solutions, noting any significant disparities in conclusions drawn from similar studies that employed different methodologies. The third group will do an inventory of existing standards and best practices on research methodologies, focusing on the extent to which they address the need for transparency of methodology. A status report will be delivered at the April 27-28 IDSP plenary meeting in the Washington, DC area.

The idea to explore the need for standards on this topic came from James Van Dyke, founder and president of Javelin Strategy & Research, a leader in the field of research on identity theft, which hosted the event.

Said Van Dyke, “Controversies about research methodology are really an obfuscation created by those that lack training in certain widely-accepted research methods. Nearly all statisticians and researchers agree on most basic principles. Javelin encourages full disclosure of research methodology and review by independent statistical experts. It would be easier for all of us to battle ID criminals if everyone did the same, because attention would shift from needless controversy to solving known problems.”

For additional information about the IDSP, visit or contact James McCabe, senior director of IDSP (; 212.642.8921).

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