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December 2003

Personal data security: Why we're dropping the ball

July 1 was a sad day for the infosecurity community. That's when the California General Assembly forced all companies doing business in the Golden State to notify their customers if their private data was exposed through a security breach. This is just the latest and most dramatic evidence that we are failing in our duty to protect the most sensitive information of all -- that which concerns private individuals. When the nascent computing community first began addressing data control issues in the '60s, inappropriate access was characterized as being a "loss of privacy." Unfortunately, privacy fell off our radar screen once the sexy and memorable CIA security triumvirate of confidentiality, integrity and availability became the single model for understanding information risk. Western society believes that individuals have the right to discretion regarding potentially embarrassing information about their health, finances, family background and personal habits. It's considered a basic human right that the subject of such ...

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