May 23, 2006

Privacy and Digital Identity [8:30 am]

This Washington Post editorial takes the federal government to task, completely ignoring the fact that the business of digital identity is far more pervasive and intrusive, yet almost certainly equally inept at managing anything like meaningful security for those whose identities are their stock in trade: Digital Incompetence

IT’S NOT as though identity theft is a new worry. Last year companies such as Time Warner Inc. and Citigroup Inc. were in the news for losing computer tapes with sensitive personal information. The Bush administration has created something called the President’s Identity Theft Task Force. Virtually every discussion of this subject makes a basic point: Although some data theft is inevitable in a digital society, institutions that collect people’s names, birthdays and Social Security numbers must at least try to avoid losing them. Don’t ship unencrypted computer tapes by UPS and then say you’re sorry if the parcel goes astray. Don’t let employees take sensitive files home, where they may be lost or stolen.

This may sound obvious, but it apparently must be said again [....]

The article giving rise to this editorial — Personal Data on Veterans Is Stolen; also NYTimes’ Vast Data Cache About Veterans Is Stolen; later Veterans Chief Voices Anger on Data Theft

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