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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  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.


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.