Sunday, February 13, 2005

Security and sex

First, the security news. Readers may have noticed my concern for the law and privacy issues lately. My concerns revolve around the fact that the law hasn't kept up properly with privacy concerns. What happens, for instance, when a third party has data on you and you have no control over what that data is or how it is managed? What happens if you don't even know that party has the data in the first place? Are they liable for mishandling your data?

Think that these questions are just ones of paranoid delusions? Well, you might want to ask what some former Defense Secretaries and top level security analysts in the US thinks about these "paranoid" scenarios. From the Washington Post (subscription required):

Some of the nation's most influential former military and intelligence officials have been informed in recent days that they are at risk of identity theft after a break-in at a major government contractor netted computers containing the Social Security numbers and other personal information about tens of thousands of past and present company employees.

The contractor, employee-owned Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego, handles sensitive government contracts, including many in information security. It has a reputation for hiring Washington's most powerful figures when they leave the government, and its payroll has been studded with former secretaries of defense, CIA directors and White House counterterrorism advisers.

Those former officials -- along with the rest of a 45,000-person workforce in which a significant percentage of employees hold government security clearances -- were informed last week that their private information may have been breached and they need to take steps to protect themselves from fraud.

David Kay, who was chief weapons inspector in Iraq after nearly a decade as an executive at SAIC, said he has devoted more than a dozen hours to shutting down accounts and safeguarding his finances. He said the successful theft of personal data, by thieves who smashed windows to gain access, does not speak well of a company that is devoted to keeping the government's secrets secure.

"I just find it unexplainable how anyone could be so casual with such vital information. It's not like we're just now learning that identity theft is a problem," said Kay, who lives in Northern Virginia...

The stolen information included names, Social Security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers and records of financial transactions. It was stored in a database of past and present SAIC stockholders. SAIC is one of the nation's largest employee-owned companies, with workers each receiving the option to buy SAIC stock through an internal brokerage division known as Bull Inc.

Haddad said the company has been trying through letters and e-mails to get in touch with everyone who has held company stock within the past decade, though he acknowledged that hasn't been easy since many have since left the company.

He said the company would take steps to ensure stockholder information is better protected in the future, but he declined to be specific.

The theft comes at a time when the company, which depends on the federal government for more than 80 percent of its $7 billion annual revenue, is already under scrutiny for its handling of several contracts.

No worries, though, folks. Based on how I read this story, it's only of dire concern to important people. The other 45,000 employees plus ex-employees and other stock holders, need not be concerned.

Now, onto sex: Do you have what it takes to be a sex champion? It's a virtual game. Why do I get the feeling, not having looked at the game, that this is a male oriented concept of what a "sex champion" is?

This just in from Zimbabwe: A female athlete has grown back her penis! Well, at least it's a creative tale. Beats the old, "They stole my identity" tale.

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