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Monday, September 11, 2006

Hewlett Packard Chairwoman, Patricia Dunn, Confirms What Corporate America Thinks About Your Personal Data

Spying on Your Board of Directors?

She said she didn’t realize investigators would use compromising techniques to obtain private phone records of Hewlett Packard’s board members. Where the hell did she think they came from, the cabbage patch? Apparently Patricia Dunn, Chairwoman of HP, does not read or watch news that regularly covers the shady way these data brokers get their information. It’s called “pretexting” and they pose as either the target individual, or an official source, using the person’s personal data: Social Security number, date of birth, etc.

CA AG calls It a Crime

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has decided a crime has been committed, but he isn’t sure just who to charge yet, according to David Kaplan’s article, “Suspicions and Spies in Silicon Valley,” in Newsweek and on MSNBC. The privacy invasion included the Hewlett Packard board members, as well as journalists from CNET, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week magazine, and The New York Times, according to another MSNBC piece, “U.S. Attorney’s Office looks into HP scandal.”

Aware or Not, a Crime Against all Consumers

Whether or not Patricia Dunn knew what she was doing—anyway, where were her advisors?—it is another blatant act by corporate America that indicates just how little it values your private information. In a recent post, “It’s Monday Morning. Do You Know Where Your Name Is?” I talk about this general disregard for consumers’ sensitive data, and the reason we need federal legislation giving you control over your name and personal data.

Join the grass-roots movement and let me hear from you.

Next: Follow-up on Experian and my LOST Credit Report

It was July 12 when I attempted to access my credit report from Credit Manager, a service for which I pay $90 annually. It is an excellent means to check for identity theft, or any mistakes you might suspect are in your report. My credit report was blank. No information. After 14 e-mails and more telephone calls I care to mention, a supervisor at Credit Manager said, although he, himself, could not even get to my report, there was no more he could do, and I must talk with Experian, one of the big-three credit bureaus, of which Credit Manager is a subsidiary.

See prior stories: “Level of competence at Experian Credit Bureau Found to Be Low,” and “Experian Denies My Right to Dispute Credit Report Problem.”

Incompetence on Top of Incompetence

After suffering through the most incompetent group of customer “service” people I have ever experienced, I was ready to try anything. To make a long story short, Experian refused to even sell me a credit report, and then refused to allow me to dispute what was going on. That did it, and I contacted someone I knew at one of the largest privacy organizations in the country. I was given a name at Experian to e-mail and call. It still took two e-mails and one phone call to talk to this person. That was on September 5. I wasn’t able to access my credit report until Monday, Sept. 11—two months denied access—and the person at Experian has yet to contact me to let me know the problem was fixed.

Experian also maintains several databases with additional sensitive information on just about every household in the country…as well as credit data. Doesn’t this just cry out for that federal legislation to give you control?

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