The Seattle Times has an interesting feature today from the Washington Post on the various statutes covering rules on how personal identifying information (aka PII) is secured, all with varying degrees of protection and different privacy policies.
It's difficult to know how much personal information may become available to government investigators because no single law governs how companies handle the data they collect about customers.
Instead, there is a patchwork of statutes that prescribes varying rules on the privacy of everything from video-store rentals and credit reports to medical data and phone logs. Beyond that, companies have privacy policies that are often impenetrable, leaving consumers unsure what rights, if any, they have.
For the article, Jim Dempsey, a privacy expert and policy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said that "people have this deep sense of unease that information is being collected about them and they don't have control over it and they don't quite know where it is going."
In our discussion at the office, Privacy is looked at hand in hand with efforts to improve Security: securing your PII is one of the most important things you can do as I have have noted several times. Whether it's in th eeffort to protect your computer in the form of passwords, account information, family files, even photos and email, protect your PII and treat it with great care.
For more on ways to stay safe online, which also can be applied to protecting your PII and personal files, see http://blogs.msdn.com/mthree/archive/2006/05/05/591323.aspx.
More info (updated links 05-11-2012)...
- From the FTC's site: more information about identity theft
- From MSN Money, courtesy Citizen's Bank: Your 5-Minute Guide to Protecting Your Identity
- Thanks to Victoria for this summary "Understanding Identity Theft"
Also available via http://bit.ly/JjFi8Z