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Friday, November 09, 2007


Congress is at it again, this time raising concerns over cybercrime. Sound familiar? Let’s see now, how many data breach laws did they propose that went nowhere when that was the popular issue, and still is, by the way? The last count was around six in 2007 alone, according to Consumers Union, with several more introduced in 2006. One House member said: “There is a rising debate in Congress on how to best combat the growing cyberthreat.” I looked up the definition of “debate” in the online, and there were 13 meanings for the word. If debate is the first step, it is suggested that the U.S. Congress click on this site and learn what the term entails, and proceed to get something passed for a change. In Government Computer News, William Jackson tells us: “During the past few years a score or more bills have been introduced in both houses on subjects such as computer crime, infrastructure protection, spyware and data breaches. A number of them now are pending. Few have made it to floor votes, let alone into law.” Jeannine Kenney, senior policy analyst at Consumers Union says industry and government are not investing in cybersecurity, and I doubt that comes as a surprise to anyone. Further, she thinks they need incentives to do something that would secure our sensitive data, which is pathetic since the consumer ends up being the one who suffers in the end. ZDNet/Government reports that the Russian Business Network in St. Petersburg is the world’s hub for phishing, spam, identity theft, as well as child porn. Why hasn’t Bush asked Putin about that? The Washington Post thinks that these guys might be responsible for half of the phishing incidents in 2006. And they are “connected”…like in the Mafia, and most likely bribing the government. But here’s the statement to end all stupid data breach statements. Stuart Pratt, president of the Consumer Data Industry Assn. and Hugo Teufel III, Homeland Security Dept.’s chief privacy officer both indicated in the article that “collecting personal data can improve security and resulting risks to privacy are an acceptable trade-off.” Try running that one by the 8.9 million victims of identity theft last year, costing them an average of $6,278. Pratt goes on to say that the American public has become used to certain invasions of their privacy today because of the risks involved in the marketplace. And that is true but it doesn’t excuse the fact that the majority of consumers have become “Apathetics” toward the misuse of their private information. It is quite obvious that everything we do today is becoming more and more dependent on the Internet, and, with that, we can expect more cybercrime. We just have to decide if we are going to give in and accept the inevitable, or stand up and take control over our names and personal data.

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