The New York Times pubished an article yesterday which has a kind of tongue-in-cheek approach to the data theft which has been taking place at companies around the United States and Canada.
A survey of 484 United States-based information technology departments within business or governmental organizations…found, among other things, that more than half of corporate laptops contained unprotected sensitive data, that one in 10 laptops is stolen and that 97 percent of those are never recovered. The study also found that 81 percent of firms reported that an â€œelectronic storage device such as a laptopâ€ specifically containing sensitive or confidential information had been lost or stolen in the past year.
If nothing else, the Commerce Department can be comforted by the fact that its loss of 1,137 laptops over the last five years is hardly unusual.
This kind of toungue-in-cheek comment is sort of the way I approach identity theft. The problem is so big, and the misinformation in the marketplace so prevalent, that, as the NYT states; “the volume of lost consumer data remains almost comically epidemic.”
The biggest problem is that our social security numbers are so valuable, and so universally used.
But that’s not going to change any time too soon. The lobbies for insurance, credit, and the banking industry as a whole are simply too large, and too powerful, for any smaller initiative to achieve any really valuable change in the way our social security numbers are used. (I will be talking about an interesting patent tomorrow though.)