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Light at end of tunnel?

Privacy is a basic right that each consumer should value and want to protect.

For the last several months, I have gone mostly dark on this website. Not purposely. But I’ll admit that the absence of posts here was in large part a reaction to two events–one involving my personal life and the other involving our body politic.

All of us should not give up in the face of the breathtaking insolence of leaders beholden to corporations. I refer not only to Congress’ onslaught against consumer privacy and consumer class actions, but also to the daily (sometimes hourly) blitz on individual rights. Admittedly, it’s difficult to keep track as the battles grow more frequent.

In the end, I urge all of you to tune out the immediate noise. Please know that there are attorneys such as myself who are dedicated to the long-term fight for each consumer’s privacy rights. Always remember that our privacy rights are inextricably entwined with my fight to protect the consumer. Yes, each of us love the convenience that Google, Amazon, Apple, and other major corporations offer us. And, some of these corporations are doing a decent job to protect individual privacy rights. But each of us must remain diligent.

Please stay tuned for the following new blog posts:

  1. Think that a data breach won’t hurt you? Thank again. – I will share with you some eye opening stories of a client, whose personal data was compromised as the result of a massive healthcare data breach. To this day, she continues to deal with identity fraud.
  2. Experian rubs salt in the wounds of 143+ million breach victims  – Don’t accept offers for “free credit monitoring,” from Equifax. In addition to giving up your valuable Personal Information, you will also give you your right to sue Equifax. If you think that arbitration sounds fair enough, you are in for a rude awakening.

 

Apple’s Strong Stance on Privacy

Bravo Apple for standing up for privacy and data security.

I usually avoid discussing September 11, 2001. But this is relevant. Since 9/11, so many private citizens in this country think it’s ok to give up privacy in the name of homeland security. They will say, “I have nothing to hide,” only those like the terrorists have anything to hide. But valuing our privacy is not about wanting to hide information. It is about having control over what we disclose to whom at the time when we choose. When a governing body has easy access to the minute details of each of us, we have given away so much of ourselves without anything in return (except the sweet promise of catching the bad guys). We have already made it so easy with government surveillance programs.

Trust me: Just thinking about 9/11 still gets me spitting mad at the radicals who claimed to kill in the name of their god. In one of the most horrific ways imaginable (burning innocent people to death, who were trapped in the towers) they stole my brother and best friend from me on his first day at his new job at the 96th floor of the WTC North tower. Many other brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers were robbed from their families that day as well. If anyone has an inextinguishable desire to rid our world of terrorists, it is me.

But ramming down iPhone security is not the way to go about fighting terrorism. Weakening security that protects each of us from bad actors for the sake of getting a discrete set of information is not the answer.

Each of us need to understand why our personal data and privacy is worth fighting for. If we are ready to throw our privacy out the window for the sake of an investigation, we give in to all that we have fought for since 9/11.

Senator demands more details from Experian re T-Mobile Data Breach

Top Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on the Senate Banking Committee demands that credit agency Experian provide more details about a data breach in which personal information on millions of T-Mobile customers was stolen.

“Protection of this information is of the utmost importance, especially because the scope of the information is vast and virtually no consumer can apply for credit without entering your system,” Brown wrote in a letter sent to Experian today.

Experian said earlier this month hackers had broken into a server containing data on T-Mobile customers. The breach exposed personal information of 15 million customers and possible customers, including Social Security numbers of those who might have applied for T-Mobile cell service between Sept. 1, 2013 and Sept. 16, 2015.

Experian’s main consumer credit database was not broken into, Experian says, and T-Mobile and Experian are providing two years of credit monitoring services and identity theft recovery services for free.

Along with increased disclosure about the breach, Brown also asks Experian to provide “credit freezes” to affected customers for free. Credit freezes allow customers to restrict access to their credit reports in cases of potential identity theft, but typically credit agencies charge for this service. Brown also asked Experian to explain how well its credit monitoring and identity theft protection services work.

Data breaches, identity theft and cyber security have become a priority as more companies have disclosed breaches of their systems. Lawmakers have attempted to legislation to address the issue, including a bill that would require companies to inform their customers about a breach within 30 days of learning about it themselves.

Experian, in a statement, said they had received Brown’s letter, “understand the concerns raised” and will respond accordingly.

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