[ Monday, June 20, 2005 ]
Hard keeping track of all the privacy breaches?
It sure is, but the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is keeping a running tally: you can find it here
. Also, check out the PRC site
(hmm, don't like that acronym much -- but then again, I don't like to see the word "clearinghouse" because of the HIPAA context) for some interesting privacy materials.
As you can tell, I'm not in the "paranoid" camp about privacy issues; if anything, I'm a little too Pollyannaish about it. So I have a natural tendency to be suspicious of organizations like this. But I have to say, they are very, very balanced in their positions (they don't recommend cancelling your credit cards based on the latest breach), and they seem to be a very useful resource for people who have had privacy problems.
While I've never been what I would consider a victim of identity theft, I have had a credit card stolen. It was a pain getting a new credit card, but we weren't stuck with any of the charges the thief rang up. But we discovered it right away, and were able to report it immediately. Even if we hadn't, though, we would still have been able to avoid the charges. Ultimately, it's the vendors who get stuck with the bill (and, obviously, all of us who have to pay higher prices because of the theft), but it's also their ultimate responsibility. And while it obviously can be a pretty big hassle proving that you weren't the person who ran up the bills, ultimately you should be able to do so and to clear your name. However, you will have to be vigilant about it.
You can get free credit reports
on yourself. You should do so. The sooner you find out there's a problem, the easier it will be to fix it.
We all benefit by the ease with which we can execute transactions these days. I remember when airlines had ticket agency offices in shopping malls so you could buy your plane ticket without having to go all the way to the airport or the travel agent's office. It's so much easier today to do it online. But with that ease and convenience come some risks. Is it worth it, overall? I think so. But it's up to all of us to keep track of our own business to make sure someone isn't climbing aboard for a free ride.[UPDATE]: Here
's another recap story.
Jeff [10:23 AM]
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