The New York county of Westchester has passed a new law in an attempt to

curb the current growth in identity theft.  Businesses which may store

personal information in an unencrypted manor are now required to install

a firewall or change the default SSID of wireless access

points–penalties for non-compliance range from an initial warning to a

$500 fine.

While it is accepted that simple measures like these will not stop

identity theft, this is seen as a move in the right direction. 

According to the county’s chief information office, Norman Jacknis,

while the law was being considered officials picked up over 100

unsecured access points during a 20 minute drive.

Public hotspots such as cafes will be required to post a warning sign

stating “For your own protection and privacy, you are advised to install

a firewall or other computer security measure when accessing the Internet.”

This new legislation has drawn attention from other areas of the US as

well as the UK and Europe.