Last week, five men were arrested for the theft of LexisNexis data, which is not necessarily relevant as it happened last week (and that is a millenium in internet time). The fine young gentlemen were using the data to look up personal information, including social security numbers, on celebrities. I suspect most readers here are not celebrities, so they have little to worry about – privacy by obscurity.
It makes me wonder, however, how many organizations actually hold personal data. The US government, state, country and city governments (where ever you have lived), Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, Choicepoint, LexisNexis….just how many places does your data reside? And why does it always smell so vulnerable in their hands versus our own?
We are headed in a direction where everyone has a fraud notice, a privacy block, and a free credit report coming every six months, just to protect against personal fraud. What affect this will have on the global economy, hungrier that ever for access to cheap credit, is anyone’s guess.