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Monday, August 13, 2007


Government contractor SAIC put the personal data of 580,000 military personnel and their families on the Internet, and it wasn’t encrypted. Naturally, it was out there for all to see and steal. The unsecured server was being used to handle health care processing claims for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Department of Homeland Security. SAIC of Shalimar, FL is the fifth largest government contractor, which you would think requires them to maintain a maximum level of security. The company says it will cost between $7 and $10 million to fix the deal, which will end up costing Uncle Sam, ultimately falling on the American taxpayer. This is the same company responsible for the FBI’s “Virtual Case File” technology upgrade that ended up costing us $170 million, eventually aborted as inoperative. The Certegy Check Services data breach has jumped from 2.3 million consumers’ stolen bank account numbers to 4 million, and is likely to rise as additional information is made available. Certegy is the subsidiary of Fidelity National Information Services, a financial processing company providing solutions supporting financial services companies throughout the world. (See earlier posts, July 7, July 14) The whole thing came down because a Certegy employee stole the data and sold it to a data broker, who sold it to several junk mail companies. But in spite of all this new information and the real potential of ID theft, the Tampa Bay Business Joural’s headline to a story is, “No criminal ID theft yet from Certegy breach.” It reeks of another coverup for private business, implying that there are usually no victims after these massive data breaches. I hope all these naysayers will admit their flawed reasoning when we are drowning in a sea of identity theft victims. States partner with Google to release public records and Arizona, where I live, is one of them. In case you missed it, Privacy International, in June of 2007, labeled the search engine “the worst thing to happen to personal privacy since the invention of the telescope.” Further, “the absolute worst of the worst when it comes to privacy issues.” California, Utah, and Virginia are the other states in this pilot program the Arizona Republic newspaper reports will include records from real estate agents, contractors, nursing homes, child care facilities, plus “more databases.” I asked Chris Cummiskey, Arizona’s chief information officer, to define the exact data to be released. I asked him twice, by e-mail, and received not a word. Is this mysterious silence an indication that the state might be planning to release something more private in nature, and they just don’t want to talk about it? Arizona was caught recently placing the Social Security numbers of its citizens on the Internet for everyone to see.

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