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Perspectives: The Rise of Dataflation
This article is part of the Information Security magazine issue of October 2005
In the first six months of 2005, 66 million personal data records were reportedly compromised. This number--and the phenomenon it represents--marks a new phase of the information age. We don't even have the vocabulary to describe what is happening to personal data, much less to understand all the implications. In a modest effort to remedy this, I propose a new word: dataflation, defined as the destabilizing tendency of data to lose value due to factors such as large-scale unauthorized access, excessive abuse and loss of confidentiality. Let's first put that 66 million in context. The most recent U.S. census estimates that 210 million Americans are 18 years or older. Factor in the numerous security breaches of 2004 and the continuing upward trend in unauthorized access to personal data, and it's entirely possible that confidential data relating to one in three American adults is now out there--and available to be abused. We're talking about your Social Security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, employer, bank and ...
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Dataflation is the destabilizing tendency of data to lose value due to factors such as large-scale unauthorized access, excessive abuse and loss of confidentiality.