Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Yet another large scale customer data theft in the U.S.

After the cases of ChoicePoint, Seisint and Bank of America, another large scale theft of customer data has surfaced in the United States.

As German IT news service heise reports, the Ohio-based chain Retail Ventures Inc. acknowledged yesterday that customer data had been stolen from its subsidiary DSW Shoe Warehouse. The data include transaction information involving 1.4 million credit cards (used in 108 DSW stores during the period November 2004 to February 2005) and 96.000 checks.

With this accumulation of cases of serious data theft, this has become a significant political issue, and (as noted in the blog entries referenced above) a couple of politicians have promised action to prevent such occurrences in the future. Like in the case of DNA testing and Germany, a “policy window” may open for an attempt at regulation in this area in the United States over the next couple of months...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Stolen U.S. customer data -- news from LexisNexis

Relating to the theft of U.S. citizens' profiles at LexisNexis subsidiary Seisint (see blog entry from about a month ago here), there is now additional (and bad news).

As parent company LexisNexis reports in a news release yesterday, no less than 59 incidents have been uncovered in the last two years (which is the time span that had been analysed) where personal data may have been obtained by unauthorized persons. As a consequence the company will notify an additional 280000 individuals about whom information may have been acquired. A month ago, LexisNexis estimated the number of affected individuals to be 30000, only a tenth of the number given today.

As German IT news service Heise reports, Senators Schumer (NY) and Nelson (Fla.) now plan to submit a Comprehensive Identity Theft Prevention Act that will strongly restrict trading with US citizens' personal data and outlaw the sale of Social Security Number related information.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

UK ID cards bill probably lost

Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair today called a general election in the UK for 5 May. This means that the UK Parliament will be dissolved next Monday. As a consequence, all bills that have not been passed by then will be lost. As the BBC reports, this will likely include the contested ID cards bill (about which more in this blog here and here).

Against that bill, the House of Lords had serious reservations. As the Earl of Erroll (a cross bencher) put it in the second reading of the bill two weeks ago:
“In conclusion, an ID card is basically an internal passport. It gives the authorities huge power to control our future movements and other things. It will irretrievably alter the balance between the citizen and the state. Millions have died defending our freedoms. Just because we are frightened of some terrorist attacks, we should not throw away those freedoms lightly.”
You can find that quote and the text of the Lords' deliberations here.