California's data breach law has forced organisations to take data security seriously -- and has given consumers the tools to protect themselves against fraud, according to one of the architects of the legislation.
The law -- known as SB 1386 -- obliges Californian state agencies or businesses to disclose data security breaches to residents if their unencrypted personal information may have been compromised.
The introduction of the data breach legislation in California has been followed by similar moves from other US states and momentum is building for the introduction of parallel laws around the world.
Californian state senator Joe Simitian, co-author of the Californian data breach law, said it gives consumers the power to protect themselves.
He said: "The fundamental thinking behind the bill was if people didn't know they were at risk they wouldn't be in a position to protect themselves. What you don't know can hurt you and ignorance is not bliss. The first step in being able to protect yourself is knowing that you are at risk.
"The legislation is about giving consumers the knowledge they need to protect themselves."