Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Gov't Can't Tell People About Free Credit Monitoring From The VA

from the shhhhhhhhh dept

The continuing screwup of the Veterans Affairs data leak continues. We've noted in the past that every time one of these leaks come out, the leaking organization thinks the can get away with paying for a year's worth of credit monitoring -- which is exactly what the VA announced last week. Of course, the salivating class action lawyers aren't happy with that solution and have convinced a judge to ban the VA from promoting this offer, because it could prevent those people from getting even more out of the government from a class action suit (it's likely the offer includes language that people sign, saying that accepting the offer makes the ineligible for other attempts to collect). The lawsuit wants the credit monitoring to be permanent -- and $1,000 for each person whose data was lost. Of course, at this point, it seems a bit silly to say the VA can't advertise their offer, since the press has already discussed it widely (and it's getting further discussion because of the ban). While there's still no evidence that the data has been used or even noticed by the thief, those at risk should get credit monitoring turned on as quickly as possible. Why not just say that accepting the VA offer doesn't preclude other settlements at a later date?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Nick, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 9:41am

    A smart thief...

    Why not just hold onto the data for a year and then go on a spree? Though I admit the data has probably already been wiped and the laptop resold or something...

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

  2. identicon
    Enlisted, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 9:45am

    Why this is a lose-lose situation for the armed fo

    This sucks for two reasons:
    A) because our information once again is out in the open
    B) because even if we do get some money out of this, its coming from the VA! That money could be going towards something actually benefitting us... If only the criminal and the idiot that lost the info could be caught and held accountable for this. If we could only make the criminal and "the analyst" go through all of the mail that we are going to get from spammers and watch all of our credit reports...

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

  3. identicon
    WirelessGuy, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 10:25am

    Re: Why this is a lose-lose situation for the arme

    I did see one requirement stating that any money towards this program could not come from the same money that was identified for any VA program. However, where that funding would come from I have no clue. As a vet who got a letter stating I was among the lucky ones who's information was let roam free, I am pretty concerned that the government will do the same thing they have always done and ignore the vets and hope we all just vanish into some VFW.

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

  4. identicon
    anonymous coward, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 10:43am

    if all corporations or gov agencies were required to pay for lifetime credit monitoring every time that they "lose" customer data, all U.S. citizens would have lifetime free credit monitoring within a year or two and young kids would probably get lifetime monitoring within 6-12 months of getting their first bank account.

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

  5. identicon
    X12B, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 11:02am

    Re: Why this is a lose-lose situation for the arme

    While I think that the dim-witted thief most likely destroyed the data, I appreciate that the VA has even offered the credit monitoring. As for the lawyers who have concocted the "free-for-life-plus-a-grand" scheme: How about you confer with those of us affected, since the VA will be using our tax dollars to pay us. Plus the VA will use how may more millions of tax dollars fighting the lawyers, once again taking money out of the hands of vets that need it. Brilliant! I just love our legal system.

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

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 12:09pm

    I for one will accept the free monitoring...

    Just last night (at 11 pm CST no less) I got a call from someone (blocked number) who wanted to renew my subscription to Hustler magazine. I have never subscribed to that mag, heck I haven't even looked at that brand since I turned old enough to buy 'em. That's clue number one that tells me that the info may have survived because I have otherwise been extremely careful with my info.

    All I have to say about it is, if the free monitoring shows problems who is going to pay to clean it up?

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

  7. identicon
    JerseyRich, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 3:45pm

    Instead of letters to those whose info was stolen, why doesn't the government send letters to its employees and contractors who have the data and tell them to not take it home on laptops?

    For example:

    Dear Overbenefitted Employee:

    Don't be a d**k and place sensitive personal data belonging to US citizens on your laptop - or anywhere else besides your desktop. Got it?


    Uncle Sam

    P.S. Get back to work, don't leave until 5:00, and do something, dammit!

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 27th, 2006 @ 8:53am

    Re: JerseyRich

    I don't see how you can call any government employee overbenefitted. Yes we get benefits. Their value is roughly half of the pay we don't get compared to most private sector jobs of the same fields. The other half of the pay we don't get is "security money" that ensures that we keep our "job security."

    One of the few jobs that I know of that actually gets paid close to private sector rates is Postal Service because they have to directly compete with DHL, UPS, FEDEX, and other parcel carriers for "less training required" employees. The only exception to the rule of thumb of government employees getting less pay to make up for cost of benefits that "I" know of is the politicians and their croneys. But then again, the suits always make more even in the private sector.

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

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