by Mike Masnick

Grand Theft Identity -- Plus A Big Bonus

from the fun-for-everyone dept

theodp writes "The fast-growing $53 billion a year identity theft industry gets the cover of this week's Newsweek. ID thieves, who pay as little as $200 for 300 credit cards, may have less than a 1 in 700 chance of being convicted. Also disturbing is corporate America's response to the problem. After Checkpoint sold the financial secrets of 145,000 consumers to con artists, its CEO still got a $1.8 million performance bonus. And the billion-dollar industry that has emerged to sell people protection against data theft is run by some of the same folks that fail to protect the info in the first place." If you hadn't realized, it's all a big scam. The people who created the problem got rewarded for it, and are now making big money pretending to fix the problem -- and, yet, nothing actually changes.

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  • identicon
    Bob, 28 Jun 2005 @ 9:56am

    The Solution

    The battle against identity theft hasn't even begun, as no one really knows where to start. There's no U.S. law that allows you to either copyright or trademark your identity, nor treat it as anything but simple information in a computer file. This is where it must begin.

    It's ironic but here is a case where extending all those draconian copyright laws to include your identity as a protected work could actually help you. Or something new similar to this.

    Once such a law would pass, then the public would finally have recourse to sue the 'information brokers' for damages for abuse of their identity or profile.

    It's only then that things will begin to change. Otherwise, they will stay as they are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ivan Sick, 28 Jun 2005 @ 11:29am

      Re: The Solution

      Won't work. Every 'broker' (like your bank) will include in its 700-line contract, that you must sign upon using their services, a clause stating that you allow them to do whatever they want with your info. This will be basically the same as the note in the "privacy policy" (that you get when you sign up for phone service [or most other things these days]) that says your information will only be used for business purposes. "Business purposes" /should/ mean record keeping within the company, but really includes sale of data--they make money selling your name, address and SSN, it's "business".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    secret squirrel, 30 Jun 2005 @ 11:21am

    Sounds like politics doesn't it

    What else can you say about this. Just remember to practice what is your only defence. Garbage in, Garbage out. Give anyone as little information as possible, and in any legal fashion, make the rest just wrong. That is your only way to address compilers of your data.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    consumer theft, 18 Mar 2006 @ 10:42am

    serious problem

    Politics gave him the bonus. As for the id theft protection service, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. I think it was smart thinking on their part.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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