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    Security Breaches: Trash to Treasure?

    Posted by Luis Serpa on September 13, 2006 - 4:15 AM
     

    Moneyintrashbasket Several shocking security breaches, compromising the personal data of millions of customers, have been reported lately.
    Below are just a few of the most flagrant cases:

    Chase trashes 2.6M customer files
    Second Lifers’ ‘first life’ hacked
    Wells Fargo leaks personal data
    AT&T deceptive on data theft

    What amazes me about these breaches is not only the scope and impact of the leaks, but the way in which they occurred. Most of them have been caused by an improper use of data by employees (like the now infamous case of the US Department of Veteran Affairs). Others were caused by losing control of how personal data was handled by companies’ partners or vendors. Chase’s customer data was mistakenly thought to be trash and thrown out. Quite a treasure trove for identity thieves.

    Although most corporate reactions to leaks have improved by becoming more forthcoming and transparent, the breaches are still a huge blow to costumers’ trust. How can anyone believe a website’s Privacy Policy or the company’s Safety Statement when such egregious security gaps abound.

    Transparency is good, critical even, but is not enough. Sooner or later, companies will have to start taking security lapses seriously. And it better be sooner, because as the saying goes: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”



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    One Response to “Security Breaches: Trash to Treasure?”

    1. Aaron Huston says:

      I whole heartedly agree… It is ridiculous in today’s environment that these data brokers are not held 100% accountable for keeping your data secure – and being responsible for fixing EVERYTHING should they ‘lose’ your data, which then results in any form of identity theft. As it stands now, it is still up to you to spend your money and time (years) to try to repair your credit reports and scores – even if caused by the gross negligence of data brokers.

      After all, data brokers profit from us, most of the time without our knowledge. By not placing VERY strict guidelines on the data brokers, our state and federal governments are failing us, placing more priority on supporting these BIG businesses at the expense of us lowly citizens.

      Consumer Reports just published a short article discussing this topic – http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/personal-finance/data-privacy-10-06/overview/1006_privacy_ov1_1.htm

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