Hackers, for a number of years, have been the driving force behind the security measures instituted on the Internet. Virtually every website that asks us to enter a password or any sensitive personal information usually has in place security measures to protect our privacy from those dastardly hackers yearning to get their hands on our names and related numbers – all those personal numbers like address, phone, social security, bank accounts, balances, credit cards, etc.
Yet while corporate America works tirelessly to protect our innumerable numbers from hackers, the employees of said corporations persist in undermining the entire system by leaving the premises with disks or entire computers carrying that sensitive stuff, and in the process exposing it to fire, theft, flood, loss, and all those other calamities that life has up its sleeve.
In recent months the news has been full of stories about personal information being compromised this way. And the number of people affected has not been just tens, or dozens, or even hundreds. Hundreds of thousands of individual records have been lost or stolen because of careless, thoughtless, or possibly even criminally minded individuals removing those records from a place of relative safety. And sometimes the organizations involved have compounded the problem by not reporting the loss immediately; in some cases, months have gone by before individuals learned their privacy had been compromised.
I propose that any person caught removing confidential files from the relative safety of his or her office be fired immediately and be subject to prosecution by our legal system. Further, I propose that any company or organization that finds its secure files have been compromised be required, within a specified number of days, to report the breach to all those affected by it, or be subject to a fine and/or prosecution.
If you lost my file because you wanted to work on it at home, tell it to the judge. If you think you had a valid reason for waiting three months to tell me my credit card information was floating around loose somewhere, tell it to the judge.
There is no excuse, no excuse, for my personal information to have left the relative safety of your heavily insured, climate-controlled, double firewalled, password-protected, hackerproof-at-least-for-today computer system. The day your convenience becomes more important than my privacy, I’ll see you in court.