Search This Blog

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What I Want for Christmas is Control over My Name and Personal Data

Santa Claus’s Bag of Tricks

If there is one thing I wish that Santa could pull out of his bag this Christmas for this household, it is the right to take back control over our names and personal data. It should be easy to get down the chimney, and we would even settle for it as a stocking-stuffer. I can see leaving tons of cookies to reward the old guy for doing something the outgoing 109th Congress seemed completely incapable of. I’ve lost track of the actual number of identity theft bills that were introduced and allowed to just…languish, but one was too much.

Data Breaches Go Merrily On Their Way

Articles abound on data lost—the latest, 800 thousand student, faculty and staff records from UCLA—and even a few that claim the identity crisis is overblown. Somewhere in the middle—and that’s exactly where the consumer is caught—there is a balance. But it all must start by business and government turning over control of individual sensitive data to the name-holder. That’s you, and you should get ready to accept and shoulder this responsibility. It is a concept that would offer significant improvements to every U.S. household.

Just a Few of the Perks

• First of all, if implemented correctly, my concept could stop ID theft overnight. That’s because you would approve any transaction using your private information.
• Second, you could decide on a national level what junk mail you want and what you don’t want.
• Third, you would have access to any personal data collected about you, in order to assure that it is accurate, with the right to correct. This would include data brokers, credit bureaus, and medical and financial databases.
• Fourth, although in cases of national security emergencies your data could be accessed, the government agency in question would be required to notify you.
• Fifth, and second only to the first perk, you would be paid each time your name and private information was sold.

New Year’s Resolution

We should all make a New Year’s resolution to lose the apathy over the identity crisis issue, and start standing up to business and government to let them know we want back control over our names and personal data. Either join my grass-roots movement by letting me know how you feel, or join other advocates in fighting for this right to privacy. Also let your congressional representatives know. Contact: House of Representatives; Senate.

No comments: