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Except there are a lot of people (myself included) who see the handling of "identity theft" as banks and credit agencies trying to pass the buck for their own poor approaches to security and verification.

Exactly - In my opinion there is no "identity theft". There is criminal fraud, which the banks are a victim of. However, instead of dealing with that fraud they just pass the costs on to an unrelated individual and then shrug and say "you deal with it".

Google does something much like this - but without regulation or clear appeal process.

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