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April 2008

Disclosure Laws Fail as an Incentive to Secure Data

Disclosure fails as an incentive to protect data. Based on media coverage, an outside observer would conclude that the rate of data leakage has suddenly increased dramatically, putting individuals at huge risk of identity theft. Commercial firms and government agencies throughout the English-speaking world are practically falling over each other to be on the nightly news as having committed the world's largest loss of personal data. Laptops are lost, and mailed media is missing. But are cybercriminals suddenly hugely more skillful? Have organizations, on both sides of the Atlantic, suddenly found that sensitive data is a lot more slippery? In a word: No. For as long as data has been portable, it has always gone missing. Laptops and tapes have always disappeared, and undoubtedly, Mesopotamian scribes were concerned over lost cuneiform tablets. Certainly the more convenient a storage medium and the greater its capacity, the more likely large amounts of information can be misplaced. The unfortunate impression given by the general ...

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