Saturday, February 26, 2005

Bank Loses Card Data of Senators, U.S. Govt Staff

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Computer tapes containing credit card records of U.S. Senators and more than a million U.S. government employees are missing, Bank of America said on Friday, putting the customers at increased risk of identity theft.

The security breach, which included data on a third of the Pentagon's staff, angered lawmakers already concerned after criminals gained access to thousands of consumer profiles in a database maintained by a data profiling company, ChoicePoint Inc.

Bank of America Corp. did not release details of how the tapes were lost, but Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he had been informed by the Senate Rules Committee that the data tapes were likely stolen off a commercial plane by baggage handlers.

'Whether it is identity theft, terrorism or other theft, in this new and complicated world baggage handlers should have background checks and more care should be taken for who is hired for these increasingly sensitive positions,' Schumer said.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said he hoped the fact that Senate information was among the lost data would spur Congress to pay attention to a 'rapid erosion of privacy rights' due to faulty data security. "

Leahy has this one right. While I feel badly for the DoD employees whose info was ripped off, little would please me more than to learn that any Senator CorpoStooge's data has been cloned to the point of making his or her life pure hell while working through the labyrinthine process involved in recovering one's identity. Schumer's comment is indicative of just how badly the disease has spread in Congress--he argues that the gummint should do a better job of screening baggage handlers, rather than suggesting that the megajillion dollar corporations who have this information be held responsible for transporting it in a remotely responsible manner. This stuff was in checked baggage on a commercial flight?


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