Why Keep Personal Information On A Laptop, When It's Much Easier To Steal On A CD?

from the good-work,-idiot dept

In story after story about data leaks stemming from a lost or stolen laptop, one question that's never answered very well is why people are carrying so much personal information on portable devices anyway. But why bother with the inconvenience of a laptop, when you could just put the social security numbers and other information of 75,000 of your customers on a CD without any encryption and make things so much easier for would-be identity thieves? That's what a boneheaded subcontractor for a health insurance company did, and now -- surprise, surprise -- the disc has gone missing. The insurance company is making the standard offer of a year of credit monitoring to those whose information was on the CD, but since the offending party didn't work directly for it, rather for another contractor, it sounds as if it won't be able to take any action against the subcontractor. So, it sounds like nothing's changing, and companies are remaining careless with personal information because there's no reason for them to protect it.
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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Mar 2007 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Smart Thieves...

    Smart identity thieves would just wait a year before actually selling or using any of the information they got. Thanks for nothing you careless company. You would think the legislation would quit passing stupid laws, like banning MP3 players while walking around, and make some laws that actually are enforceable and have an effect, like requiring all sensitive/personal information stored on any kind of device to have GOOD/effective encryption strategies. I guess it is too much to ask we have some smart legislators though... Then again, maybe the CD fell behind one of the desks. I sure know I've found many of mine back there.

    First of all, how would you write a law like that if you were a politician? Do you specify a particular encryption level? Does it apply to every piece of data that can be linked to a person? Wouldn't that effectively give the government the right to come in and look at any data a company has, without a warrant or other legal notice, in the name of making sure this new hypothetical encryption law is being followed?

    As a side note, the insurance industry already has rules regarding data protection that they can be fined against in this instance, it's called HIPAA.

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