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

today's howtos

Leftovers: Ubuntu

  • Ubuntu Phone, Sep 2016 - Vorsprung durch Touch
    The Ubuntu Phone is getting better, and with every new iteration of the OTA, my little BQ Aquaris E4.5 is gaining more speed and functionality. Like in the air force, with an avionics upgrade, which transforms ancient wings into a powerful and modern bird of prey. Only the pace of advancement is lagging behind the market. See what Android and iOS can do, even Windows Phone, and you realize how late and insufficiently meaningful the Ubuntu Phone really is. This has to change, massively. This latest round does bring some fine goods to the table - more speed and stability, better icons, more overall visual polish, incremental improvements in the applications and the scopes. But that's not enough to win the heart of the average user. A more radical, app-centric effort is required. More focus on delivering the mobile experience, be it as it may. Ubuntu cannot revolutionalize that which is already considered the past. It can only join the club and enjoy the benefits of a well-established reality. And that is a kickass app stack that makes the touch device worth using in the first place. Still, it's not all gloomy. E4.5 is a better product now than it was a year ago, fact. Ubuntu Phone is a better operating system than it was even this spring, fact. So maybe one day we will see Ubuntu become an important if not dominant player in the phone and tablet space. It sure is heading in the right direction, my only fear is the availability of resources to pull off this massive rehaul that is needed to make it stand up to the old and proven giants. And that's it really. If you're keen on Linux (not Android) making it in the mobile world, do not forget to check my Ubuntu tablet review! Especially the convergence piece. On that merry note, you do remember that I'm running a wicked contest this year, too? He/she who reads my books might get a chance to win an M10 tablet. Indeed. Off you go, dear readers. Whereas I will now run the same set of tests we did here on the Aquaris tablet, and see how it likes the OTA-12 upgrade. The end.
  • Ubuntu 16.10 Unity 8 - new window snapping feature
  • Ubuntu Online Summit for Ubuntu 17.04 is Taking Place In Mid-November
  • Ubuntu Online Summit: 15-16 November 2016

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • 10 Top Open Source Artificial Intelligence Tools for Linux
    In this post, we shall cover a few of the top, open-source artificial intelligence (AI) tools for the Linux ecosystem. Currently, AI is one of the ever advancing fields in science and technology, with a major focus geared towards building software and hardware to solve every day life challenges in areas such as health care, education, security, manufacturing, banking and so much more.
  • List of FLOSS International Conferences September 2016 Materials
  • This Week In Servo 78
    Our overall roadmap is available online and now includes the initial Q3 plans. From now on, we plan to include the quarterly plan with a high-level breakdown in the roadmap page.
  • Firefox 49 Release: Find out what is new
    Firefox 49.0 is the next major stable release of the web browser. Firefox 48.0.2 and earlier versions of Firefox can be updated to the new release.
  • Open-Source Climate Change Data From NASA, NOAA, & Others Available For 1st Time
    Climate change has many components — rising sea levels, alterations in rainfall patterns, and an increase in severe storm activity, among others. Communities around the world are faced with the need to plan for climate change but don’t have the information available to do so effectively.
  • Another Setback for 3D Printed Gun Advocate Cody Wilson as Court of Appeals Rules That National Security Concerns Outweigh Free Speech
    It’s been a long, drawn-out battle, beginning in 2013 when Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, published the open source files for his 3D printed handgun, the Liberator, online. The State Department ordered that he take the files down, and Wilson complied, but not before thousands had downloaded them and spread them elsewhere on the Internet. In 2015, with the help of gun rights organization The Second Amendment Foundation, Wilson filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the State Department had violated not only his Second Amendment but his First Amendment rights. By suppressing his right to share information online, Wilson argued, the State Department was violating his right to free speech.
  • In 3D-Printed Gun Case, Federal Court Permits Speech Censorship in the Name of Alleged National Security
  • Oracle tries playing nice with Java EE rebels
    With Oracle now trying to get back on track with advancing enterprise Java, the company is seeking rapprochement with factions that had sought to advance the platform on their own. The two groups involved are mostly amenable to patching up the relationship. Oracle's Anil Gaur, group vice president of engineering, said this week he had already been in touch with some of the concerned parties. The two factions include Java EE Guardians, led by former Oracle Java EE evangelist Reza Rahman, and Microprofile.io, which has included participation from Red Hat and IBM.

GNU News