TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Common Sense Moves Could Protect Privacy

Common Sense Moves Could Protect Privacy

Monty Solomon (
Tue, 24 May 2005 00:19:26 -0400

By ELLEN SIMON AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stealing Social Security numbers and other sensitive
data isn't always a cloak-and-dagger, ultra-sophisticated operation:
It's often a low-tech job made easier by carelessness and flimsy

Plenty of inexpensive measures can protect data from the large-scale
theft that big banks, data merchants and other companies have recently

But "security and privacy, for a lot of large organizations, are an
afterthought, not a priority," said Evan Hendricks, who publishes the
newsletter "Privacy Times."

Consider the latest headache for some large banks:

Wachovia Corp., and Bank of America Corp. say they have notified more
than 100,000 customers that their accounts and personal information
may be at risk after former bank employees allegedly sold account
numbers and balances to a man who then sold them to data collection
agencies. Nine people have been arrested in New Jersey in the case.

Or consider MCI Inc.'s privacy problem:

An MCI laptop containing the names and Social Security numbers of
16,500 current and former MCI Inc. employees was stolen last month
from the car of an MCI financial analyst in Colorado. The car was
parked in the analyst's home garage. The computer was
password-protected; the company would not comment on whether the data
was encrypted.

Encryption, which is relatively inexpensive, would make all those
records all but impossible to access.


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