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Monday, August 06, 2007


There’s a good article in (subscription only) about how there is always risk prevalent wherever data is stored. Actually, we’ve known this for years, but have been betting against the odds the risk wouldn’t turn into a full-blown disaster like the current identity crisis. I remember questioning people in charge of maintaining data storage about this when I was a junk mail data broker. In the early stages of computers, I witnessed magnetic tapes with sensitive data laying around in the open, unprotected, prey for potential thieves. In those days, the theft was for the purpose of selling the names to some other crook who would use them to mail some questionable offer. And then the thieves became sophisticated, learned the value of the private information stored, which could be sold for much more than just the names themselves. It was this bunch of bad guys that actually ushered in the information revolution, or at least brought the attention to this movement that got the attention of the general population. There are points in Lee Howard’s article, “Where There’s Data Stored, There’s A Risk,” that are worth covering. Howard quotes from several sources, one a casino VP who says they stopped collecting Social Security numbers several years ago. A privacy officer who explains away the data loss problems in the medical community with the fact it is not yet automated. However, the dilemma just worsens with computerization, if security of data isn’t the top priority. And then there are the “apathetics,” as I call them due to their detachment with the reality of the potential breach of their private information, that refuse to cooperate in their own security. I personally would much rather see a law that gave consumers control over their names and personal data, than one that dictates what data can be collected. One good reason is the fact that the latter would never work.

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