Saturday, May 07, 2005

When Is Security-Breach Disclosure Too Much Disclosure?

Over at TechDirt, Brett is asking whether mandatory noficiation of security breaches will lead to an unrelenting bombardment of notices upon unsuspecting consumers, rendering them numb. Many, I think, will throw out the notices but anybody who gets more than a few of these will probably cross the line from apathy to concerned, demanding some action and accountability.

Techdirt:When Is Security-Breach Disclosure Too Much Disclosure?:

"Contributed by Brett on Thursday, May 5th, 2005 @ 02:09PM from the what-do-we-do-now? dept.

As Congress considers legislation requiring disclosure of data security breaches, some lawmakers are grappling with an issue that we've already been wondering about. How can you craft a law that forces companies to come clean on security breaches while not bombarding customers with too many notices? Notification is good -- it keeps customers informed and companies accountable. But the risk is that the more frequent the notices, the more likely people will start tuning them out. It'll be interesting to see what sort of balance a national law strikes. Perhaps each notice should come with a rating, in which an independent or law enforcement group assigns a risk level to the breach. Along with that, customers can be told what (if any) action they should take to deal with the situation, though this would probably involve giving customers more control over their information and how it's used -- and that would only make the political wrangling even worse. "

I do agree with the poster that notices should should also disclose the relative risk of the breach, since most consumers are probably ill-prepared to figure out the risk without assistance.

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