Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Landfill ID Losses! How Lame is That?!

Here is the story that caught my eye and gave me indigestion!

The story in Network World (09/08/06) was titled "Chase Card Services dumps customer details in landfill". Chris Mellor, a TechWorld writer reported that

  • "In an amazing display of incompetence, Chase Card Services has dumped tapes containing millions of customers' details in a landfill site. The company will now have to tell 2.6 million current and former credit card customers of Circuit City that tapes containing their details were tossed out when they were mistaken for rubbish. Chase is apparently working with both local and national authorities to find out what happened but thinks they were in a locked box that was crushed and dumped in the landfill hole." (Network World at
I don't know about you but I am ready for a class action lawsuit against these incompetent and irresponsible morons!

As I said in a recent keynote address to an audience at an international conference on security education, neither the government nor the private sector will take id security seriously until the people responisble for id information losses go to jail and institutions are seriously fined! (By the way, CNN is reporting as I sit here writing this blog, that millions of medical records are at risk of ID theft because the federal government has a system full of security holes)

For months now my co-author Mike McCoy and I have been preaching apparently to the deaf government officials and politicians that ID theft is a very dangerous, serious threat not just to the personal security of Americans but also to national security. After all, the September 11 terrorists had fake identities!

Chase Card Services losing computer tapes and having them end up in a landfill is unacceptable. It shows that Chase Card Services does not consider this highly personal information to be valuable or at risk. Moreover, it shows that they don't consider themselves to be the stewards of your most personal and intimate information.

A hefty fine and a robust response by their upper management team would help to get the attention of those (usually low level, minimum wage employees) who are given the responsibility of managing and disposing of such incredibly sensitive information.

Also, maybe a consumer boycott of companies that mishandle your data would send a good message!


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