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Privacy Futures: Fed-up Consumers Take Their Data Back
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lunny
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lunny,
User Rank: Strategist
12/20/2018 | 12:10:07 PM
Make the Data Worthless
As more and more data is released through breaches, malicious attacks or simple mistakes, at some point it is all out there.  Once your name, social security number, birth date, place of birth, and other data has been released, there's no reeling it back in.  You can change your name perhaps, but the rest cannot be changed.  We spend a great deal of time and effort trying to protect this data.  We're running out of fingers to put in the dyke while more and more data continues to be released.  With advanced analytics and quantum computing emerging, the ability to accurately infer private data from existing public data will become a reality.

Our goal then, should be to make it harder to use this data to impersonate someone.  It is far too easy to pretend to be another person, by having pieces of key data, to steal money.  We all love the convenience of online commerce, but this problem is the price we pay.  Years ago (many years), I was in the military.  In order to pay with a check anywhere on base, my check had to have the following printed on it; my full name, my social security number (yes, that!), my address, my phone number, and my military unit designator.  But in the 1980s, it wasn't worthwhile to steal that information to impersonate me.  Lots of effort for little gain.  But now, a threat actor can steal information for thousands, or millions, of people and use it to impersonate them for financial gain.  Maybe just $10 per identity on average, but that's a lot of money at scale.

We wouldn't have to protect this type of information if it wasn't so useful to those who would use it to impersonate others for illicit financial gain.  We need to find a better way to assure the identity of both parties in virtual transactions.  Then, all of this data that we spend billions trying to protect would become generally useless and we wouldn't have to protect it.  Maybe we should be spending our money on a cure rather than salves for the symptoms.


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