Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Burden is on us to protect our data

Filed under
Security

If you had to guess, how many companies would you say have enough of your personal data stored in various databases to make even a rookie crook ready for prime-time conning?

Ten, perhaps? What about 50, 100 or 1,000?

You probably don't know the answer, and that is exactly the problem.

In the past six months, the personal data of millions of consumers have been lost, stolen or sold to identity thieves. The most recent case involved a financial unit of Citigroup Inc. CitiFinancial, which provides a wide variety of consumer loan products, disclosed that personal information (Social Security numbers, loan account data and addresses) of 3.9 million of its customers was lost by UPS in transit to a credit bureau. So far CitiFinancial said it had no reason to believe that the information has been used inappropriately.

So far.

Every time we hear of one of these cases, the companies involved tell their customers not to worry. Trust us, they say. They pledge to enhance their security procedures.

The promises don't make me feel any safer about my personal data. How about you?

It's time for the federal government and the states to step in and make sure the companies fulfill those promises.

There have been some efforts to protect people's financial information. On June 1, a new federal rule took effect that requires businesses and individuals to destroy sensitive information derived from consumer credit reports.

I was initially encouraged when I heard about this rule. It seems to cover all the bases -- individuals, and both large and small organizations that use consumer reports, including consumer reporting companies, lenders, insurers, employers, landlords, government agencies, mortgage brokers, car dealers, attorneys, private investigators, debt collectors and people who pull consumer reports on prospective home employees, such as nannies or contractors.

There's just one little problem with this "Disposal Rule." There is no standard for how the documents have to be destroyed. Here's the direction the Federal Trade Commission is giving to businesses and individuals: "The proper disposal of information derived from a consumer report is flexible and allows the organizations and individuals covered by the rule to determine what measures are reasonable based on the sensitivity of the information, the costs and benefits of different disposal methods, and changes in technology."

How strong is a standard if it has no standard? Basically, those who have our information get to decide how and when it is to be destroyed.

"The burden is completely on the consumer to protect what is important," said Evan Hendricks, editor and publisher of the newsletter, Privacy Times.

Full Article.

More in Tux Machines

Eight great Linux gifts for the holiday season

Do you want to give your techie friend a very Linux holiday season? Sure you do! Here are some suggestion to brighten your favorite Tux fan's day. Read more Also: More Random Gift Ideas For Linux Enthusiasts & Others Into Tech Which open source gift is at the top of your holiday wish list?

Ubuntu-Based ExTiX OS Updated for Intel Compute Sticks with Improved Installer

GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton announced this past weekend the release of an updated build of his Ubuntu-based ExTiX Linux distribution for Intel Compute Stick devices. Last month, we reported on the initial availability of a port of the ExTiX operating system for Intel Compute Sticks, boasting the lightweight and modern LXQt 0.10.0 desktop environment and powered by the latest Linux 4.8 kernel, tweaked by Arne Exton for Intel Atom processors. And now, ExTiX Build 161203 is out as a drop-in replacement for Build 161119, bringing a much-improved Ubiquity graphics installer that should no longer crash, as several users who attempted to install the Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distro on their Intel Compute Stick devices reported. Read more Also: Debian-Based SparkyLinux 4.5 Brings Support for exFAT Filesystems, systemd 232 4MLinux 20.1 Linux Distro Released with Kernel 4.4.34 LTS to Restore PAE Support

Today in Techrights

Canonical Releases Snapcraft 2.23 Snap Creator for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 16.10

Canonical's Snappy development team have released a new maintenance version of the Snapcraft 2.x tool that lets applications developers package their apps as Snap packages for Ubuntu and other GNU/Linux distributions that support Snaps. Read more