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April 2008

Companies Collecting Too Much Customer Data Increase Exposure

If the risk of losing customer or partner information outweighs its value, why collect it in the first place? So I take my son to a local video game stop--you know, one of those that sells used games at a discount. How can you turn down a used version of Zelda: Oracle of Ages for the Game Boy Advance for a pittance of $4.99--cash? Turns out, of course, the game didn't work well--someone resold it in for a reason, I suppose. No sweat says the cashier. Within 30 days, all returns are refunded with a receipt. So I bring it back the same day and explain the situation. No sweat. Same cashier takes my receipt and starts typing away. After about four minutes, she looks up and says: name, address, phone number. "Why?" I ask. It was a cash transaction. Her brilliant answer: "Because you're returning the game." Oh, I get it: In order to get my five bucks back, I have to trust, as a consumer, that your security house is in order and that some hacker won't inject some malicious SQL code onto your Web site, waltz into your database and steal...

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