Monday, February 28, 2005

US Senator Says Westlaw Data Service Has Lax Rules for Security

In the fallout of the ChoicePoint incident, legislators are turning their eyes to other data aggregators. Senator Schumer (D NY) held a press conference to show the kind of information that is available to subscribers of Westlaw's People-Find database. He dredged up personal information on high profile folks, including Paris Hilton (won't they leave the poor - I mean unlucky - girl alone?):

The New York Times > Business > Senator Says Data Service Has Lax Rules for Security:

"As the fallout continued to spread from the news of a security breach at ChoicePoint, a company that inadvertently sold sensitive consumer data to thieves last year, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, took aim at another data search service, Westlaw. He promised to introduce broad new legislation aimed at curbing identity theft.

At a news conference in Washington yesterday, Mr. Schumer complained that any employee - from high-level managers to interns - of a company subscribing to Westlaw's databases could access sensitive records on millions of people, including Social Security numbers, previous addresses, dates of birth and other data that is valuable to identity thieves.

Mr. Schumer presented a parade of posters of well-known individuals whose information was available on Westlaw, including the former attorney general John Ashcroft, Vice President Dick Cheney, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor Brad Pitt and the heiress Paris Hilton. The posters obscured their personal data...."

The author of this article, Tom Zeller Jr., also had an excellent article on February 24th that is well worth reading: The New York Times > Business > Breach Points Up Flaws in Privacy Laws

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