[JURIST] Canadian Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson [official profile] Tuesday said [speech text; press release] that he intends to introduce legislation to criminalize identity theft and assist law enforcement officials in apprehending criminals before they can use stolen identities to commit fraud. Currently, Canada's Criminal Code [text, in English] criminalizes identity fraud, impersonation, and forgery, but does not cover preliminary steps of obtaining, possessing, and trafficking identity information. "Identity theft" [Justice Canada backgrounder] typically refers to these preliminary acts, while "identity fraud" relates to the subsequent deceptive use of that information for various crimes. The new legislation would focus on criminalizing acts committed in preparation of engaging in identity fraud. Reuters has more.
Identity theft has become an increasingly hot topic in a variety of jurisdictions. In February, in the US, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) [official websites] introduced a bill [press release] designed to protect the personal information of American consumers by increasing criminal penalties for identity theft and requiring institutions that maintain personal data to disclose when they suffer a breach affecting personal security information.