Government agencies must protect our data
A famed bank robber in the 1930s — Willie Sutton — wrote in his autobiography that he would “go where the money is ... and go there often.”
A similar statement could be made by identity thieves who target government agencies — that is where the private information resides for many Americans.
The agencies have files containing some of the most sensitive information about people — their Social Security numbers, birth data, bank account numbers — you name it and it is probably in a government database.
Unfortunately, a new study is critical of how well the government protects that private information.
The security firm Rapid7 said there has been a “steady increase” in the past few years in the amount of private information that could be compromised. More than 94 million personal identity records were exposed to potential theft during that time, according to an Associated Press report.
A security researcher involved with the study said “it is a problem we all should be concerned about.”
Even more depressing was why the files were so vulnerable. There were weaknesses in database security protections, and data was not properly protected on portable computers that could be easily taken. One security expert concluded it was mostly just a matter of “stupidity and negligence.”
Often Americans are required to provide this information to get services and/or information from government agencies. It is therefore the responsibility of these agencies to ensure it is safeguarded to the utmost.
That apparently isn't always happening, and that has to end. The first step is to hold agencies and individuals accountable if they do not protect this information.