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Risk

10/16/2007
01:03 PM
Tom Smith
Tom Smith
Commentary
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Schwarzenegger Trusts Businesses To Protect Your Data; Do You?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of a California bill aimed at increasing the state's data protection standards, in part based on his view that the marketplace is handling consumer data protection, raises a troubling question: What planet is this guy living on?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of a California bill aimed at increasing the state's data protection standards, in part based on his view that the marketplace is handling consumer data protection, raises a troubling question: What planet is this guy living on?AB 779, which passed both houses of the state government by large majorities indicating there's enough support to override the veto, would limit the data companies can retain on consumers and forbid those without retention policies from collecting sensitive data, according to an Ars Technica account.

Schwarzenegger's rationale:

"…this bill attempts to legislate in an area where the marketplace has already assigned responsibilities and liabilities that provide for the protection of consumers."

Referencing the Payment Card Industry and its standards, the governor says:

"This industry … is in a superior position to ensure that these standards keep up with changes in technology in the marketplace."

I've only been able to find 167 million reasons why Arnie is wrong. That's the number of records containing sensitive personal information -- much of it involving credit cards -- involved in security breaches.

The only conclusion to be drawn from this list: there's a frighteningly high number of businesses collecting our personal data that are incompetent when it comes to protecting that information.

The governor argues compliance would be excessively costly and burdensome for small businesses, such as retailers. That's entirely possible. No doubt, self policing and self correction is a better solution than legislation.

But when all else fails -- and it has -- government has little choice but to step in. Even when the governor is in denial.

What's your take? Are you confident business will eventually solve this problem and therefore legislation isn't the answer? Or are we beyond the point of thinking we should trust the inmates to run the asylum? Take my poll or submit your comments.

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