Saturday, February 03, 2007

Finally! Punishment of Data Slackers!

On this blog we have railed against the incompetent and irresponsible morons who run the nation's personal identity stewardship in government, corporations, NGO's, universities, hospitals, and so forth.

I have said repeatedly that until people go to jail and organizations that lose data on clients are heavily, HEAVILY, fined nothing will change in the disgraceful sloppyness of how sensitive identity information is handled.

Now read this blog "It’s Smackdown Time On Data Breaches" by Patricia Keefe, Feb 2, 2007, on the Information Week blog -- http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/02/its_smack_down.html

You will be delighted to see that TJX (TJ MAxxx's parent company) which recently had a very large identity data loss on customer accounts is now coming under the hammer. Ms. Keefe specifically lists the following actions:
  • The credit card companies are assessing fines for noncompliance with PCI, or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This could lead to trouble with TJX's bankers since they face fines if their merchants are not in compliance with PCI. Meanwhile, those merchants not in compliance are not supposed to be able to process Visa or MasterCard payments.
  • AmeriFirst Bank has filed a class-action lawsuit charging TJX and it's card-processing bank, Fifth Third bank, with negligence and breach of contract. It expects other financial institutions will join the suit.
  • Hundreds, maybe thousands, of banks are talking about seeking restitution as consumers nationwide have canceled debit and credit cards in the wake of this breach -- including yours truly. (Why take the chance? When I called my credit card issuer, I was told that they had received "many, many" calls seeking new cards.)
  • TJX's stock has taken a hit.
This is good news because it is only with a huge punitive stick that companies and government employees and agencies will take seriously the enormous damage id theft is doing to individuals, the economy, and even national security (the 9-11 terrorists all had fake ID's many from ID theft).

I do believe that there is nothing like a painful lawsuit and a few years in prison to get the attention of the stewards of our most precious and valued personal belonging. OUR IDENTITY!

sws

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