The persuasive disregard by organizations to protect our personal information is heartbreaking. What have consumers and organizations learned about privacy, information security and identity theft over the last several years? Seemingly nothing as consumers continue indiscriminate sharing of their most sensitive information and hundreds of organizations continue to report massive data breaches annually while thousands if not millions of data breaches go undetected or unreported each year.
A recent article in this column suggested that 70% of identity theft originates in the workplace and that less than 0.1% of organizations that possess our personally identifiable information take appropriate preventive steps to protect and secure that information.
Although a high-percentage of identity theft is not in our control, there are precautions that consumers can take to decrease their risk of identity theft.
Assume that the risk of identity theft is a 50/50 proposition. You control 50% of the risk and organizations—public, private, governmental, schools and not-for-profits contribute to the other 50% of the risk. Read More
With concerns over online privacy and information gathering by search engines, Google has come up with a solution, Opt-out village, a 22-acre remote mountain enclave for those obsessed with privacy.
According to trusted news network, ONN, access to the new privacy feature is simple; just click the opt-out button on the Google home page and within minutes, a van will arrive to sweep you away to Opt-Out Village. A team of privacy experts will eliminate your home address and guarantee that will not appear on Google.
John Carter, Director Google Opt-Out Village says that "once in the village there is no chance of Google or anyone else reading your email because there are not computers. " Carter goes on to say that "because they can be tracked, there are no banks or hospitals." Residents will be expected to know how to grow their own food, suture wounds and bury the dead by hand.
To insure privacy, Google provides a 30-foot tall, 10-foot thick concrete data security wall around the complex. The entire complex is encapsulated in a giant metal box so satellites cannot see inside.
Those who check into Opt-Out Village may only opt-out or leave after having a giant scarlet "G" branded on their forehead labeling them as doubters.
For more information see the complete video report on the Onion News Network
Speaking at business forum, I asked the question, “Does your business have a privacy officer?” A young attorney quipped, “Hire an attorney and he’ll tell you if you need a privacy officer?”
It is commonly accepted that all enterprises must have an “in house” official for privacy and information security oversight. It is expected whether your business comprises one or tens of thousands of associates. No employees? Then you’re the privacy officer.
Many people do not understand identity theft, privacy and information security. Executives who lack this understanding can be putting a lot at risk—personal and business. Executives have a fiduciary and social responsibility to do the right thing.
I started an executive coaching series which can be followed on the Examiner.com to help educate business leaders on identity theft, privacy and information security.
One of my business associates rented a new office last week and noticed a copy of a job application letter on the top of a wastepaper basket full of office documents and trash. The applicant, was the previous office occupant, proclaimed his or her attentiveness to privacy and security practices in the workplace. A study published nearly a decade ago indicated that as much as 70% of identity theft originates in the workplace. Read More
Earlier this year, I produced a video to illustrate to consumers how easily their sensitive information, such as a Social Security Number, can be obtained from local government Web sites. Most local government's don't care.They would rather object to redacting sensitive information from public records and continue to put us at risk rather than to protect the information we have entrusted to them. It's important that consumers actively monitor their information to avoid becoming yet another identity theft statistic.
Two, three, four. . . counting the number of privacy and security risks as I stand at the reception area of most small businesses. I’ve been praised for pointing out the obvious, before they were obvious—not much of commendation when it’s expressed that starkly.
Hall of Fame Quarterback, Fran Tarkenton (He played for the Bears, right? No, the Vikings), now a legendary entrepreneur and business coach says, ”business people don’t know what they don’t know.“
Not too long ago a high profile executive of a financial institution said to me, “Identity theft! That happened to me, I called the credit card company and they took the charge off my account, it wasn’t a big deal.”
His response is a tribute to a common misunderstanding that consumers have about identity theft—that id theft is credit card or bank account fraud. The example is alarming because a leader of a financial institution should know better. The personal situation that the executive referred to was more likely an account error, not existing account fraud and certainly not identity theft in the pure sense.
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