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

GNOME News

  • Hurrah! Dash to Dock Now Supports GNOME 3.24
    The Dash to Dock GNOME Shell Extension has been updated to support GNOME 3.24, and improves its app launch keyboard shortcut feature.
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed Is the First to Offer the GNOME 3.24 Desktop Environment
    openSUSE Project's Dominique Leuenberger was proud to announce the availability of the recently released GNOME 3.24 desktop environment into the software repositories of the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release. According to the developer, and to our knowledge, openSUSE Tumbleweed is now the first GNU/Linux distributions to offer the GNOME 3.24 packages to their users. We know that openSUSE is a distro mostly oriented towards the KDE Plasma desktop, but support for GNOME is provided at the same level of quality.

Linux Action Show ends after 10-year run

This past Sunday, Jupiter Broadcasting announced the Linux Action Show—one of the longest-running podcasts in the Linux world, which has aired almost continuously since June 10, 2006—is coming to an end and closing down production. Over a decade. That is a seriously good run for any show—podcast, TV, radio or otherwise. When I and my co-host created the Linux Action Show (typically abbreviated as LAS) nearly 11 years ago, we had no idea it would last this long. Nor did we have any idea of how far it would grow. Read more

Red Hat News

Samsung Z4 gets WiFi Certified with Tizen 3.0 onboard, Launching soon

Today, the next Tizen smartphone, which should be the named the Samsung Z4, has received its WiFi certification (certification ID: WFA70348) – Model number SM-Z400F/DS with firmware Z400F.001 on the 2.4Ghz band. WiFi certification is usually one of the last steps before a mobile device gets released and means a launch is coming real soon as we have already seen the Z4 make its debut appearance at the FCC. For the previous model, the Samsung Z2, we saw it get WIFi certified on 7 July and then launched on 23 August, a mere 6 weeks. Read more