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Loss of Personal Info As Stressful As Losing a Job 119

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-it's-up-there-all-right dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Americans feel most vulnerable about the loss or theft of their personal or financial information, according to a national survey. 54% of Americans said the prospect of losing this data 'extremely concerned' them. Losing personal or financial information ranked similar to concern over job loss and not being able to provide healthcare for their family. In terms of specific risks within the online threat landscape, identity theft ranked as the chief fear. Nearly a third of Americans reported identity theft as their greatest concern to personal safety and security on the Internet. The fear of someone hacking into their financial information or accounts ranked a close second, with a quarter of Americans listing it as their greatest worry."
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Loss of Personal Info As Stressful As Losing a Job

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  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @09:48AM (#33214766)
    You can get a new job within hours of losing the old one. You can't get banks and the police to trust you again THAT quickly after your identity's been abused to commit frauds.
    • by toastar (573882)
      Losing your wallet sucks?

      Must be a slow news day
    • by BobMcD (601576)

      You can get a new job within hours of losing the old one. You can't get banks and the police to trust you again THAT quickly after your identity's been abused to commit frauds.

      In this economy?? Maybe back in 2007, but I'd say your runout on the bank clock would be faster today.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kepesk (1093871)
        Hah, agreed. I have friends with normally in-demand skills who have been looking for a job for a year.

        I once fell for a cleverly-crafted internet scam. The ten minutes it took for me to get my bank card canceled felt like my boss had pulled me into the office and chewed me out. So.... I'd say this is about accurate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bsDaemon (87307)

      I grew up in a fairly small town. I've had my checking account with the same bank since I was 18. Of the tellers there, one I went to high school with and she used to live across the street from me. The rest of the tellers and other officers have known my parents for a long, long time. When I go there, they know me fairly well. If I had a major issue, I'd drive the hour and a half home to go to that bank where they know and trust me, and I'd probably get taken care of properly. That's probably not typ

      • IL is baning credit checks for most jobs and bad credit can come from getting sicks and running big bills with or without benefits.

      • Are you sure that that teller lady would be as nice to you if she discovered that (for example) your stolen cc was used to pay for some omghewillmolestourchildrenburnthewitch pornography? Hate, fear and anger comes easily and you are likely to be thought as "he did it, he just lies in attempt to get out of trouble" guy.

        • by bsDaemon (87307)

          Well, I like to think they know me well enough, but who knows... people are kind of stupid when it comes to that sort of thing.

        • People use stolen credit cards for porn?

          I would think you would steal the porn directly and use the stolen CC to buy something not so easily acquired (try pirating gas for your car)

          • by hedwards (940851)
            For certain kinds yes, I'd personally be suspicious of any accusations of a person paying for child porn with their own credit card. Sure there are people that dim out there, I just doubt very much that it's commonplace.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Maybe you can, but the last time I was out of work I was unemployed for a year before I found a new job. That was over 20 years ago, it would be even harder for me to find one now because I'm getting on in years; at least, one that would pay the bills. In case you haven't noticed, one in ten people are collecting unemployment benefits, and probably twice that many are unemployed but not recieving benefits (thay don't count those folks).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by delinear (991444)
        Completely agree - I'd say the combination of people having lived through a relative boom and not having the anguish of trying to find a job during an economic downturn couple with the media hysteria about identity theft no doubt account for people's worries being misplaced in this way. For most people "identity theft" means a few troublesome calls to the bank to sort it out - in many cases the bank does all the legwork (I had a call from my bank to alert me a site that took a payment from my card had some
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Screw the bank, what about my Farmville!?!11

    • by Shotgun (30919)

      And yet there is a cheap and easy fix that would fix nearly all the credit fraud.

      When a credit reporting agency sends out a report about me, require them to send me what they sent the requester.

      Now, it won't cover the problem 100%. There will still be holes that fraudsters will be able to get through. But the idiocy we have where companies sneak around whispering secrets about me is just criminal, and STUPID!!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skuld-Chan (302449)

      Sometimes its no so easy to find a new job - I looked for a year until I found the job I have now. I make like 19k a year where I used to make 80k :/.

      That insecurity is rather frightening - when I lost the lease on my house if I didn't have a safety net (living with friends) I would have been able to live off savings/unemployment insurance, but after that I'd have to live out of my car.

    • The last I heard, the average job search takes six months. I can get my bank cards, etc., cancelled within minutes of detecting their loss. I've had both things happen, and "identity theft" is a minor nuisance.

      The claim that people are more stressed out by "identity theft" than by job loss is just not credible. If people were less worried about job loss than about personal information security, you'd see people blowing off work for a week, but you wouldn't see people using Facebook.

      • The problem with your argument is that you knew that your bank cards went missing. In my case, I didn't know that my name, DOB, SSN and address were compromised. (I still don't know by whom.) The only way I caught the identity thieves in the act was because they were dumb and paid for rush delivery on the credit card they opened in my name... and THEN changed the address to their address. (Or, more likely, the address of someone they used to shuffle things back and forth.) I wound up getting the card a

  • I'd say those that AREN'T worried have a screw loose. Or ten.
    • I'd say those that AREN'T worried have a screw loose. Or ten.

      I agree. But, if those same people would just use a sane password policy for the financial Web sites they visit, they'd be a hell of a lot better off. Face it, most successful "hacking" attempts don't revolve around some bad-ass computer genius, they have to do with users not doing their part to properly secure their own data. Sure, there are definitely security breaches at large companies and you can't do much about that (it happened to me once: I got a new credit card with a new number ... they had a secu

      • by stanlyb (1839382)
        Nope, does not. Tell me, since when it is required to be a geek in order to open an online bank account!!! Do you have a Ph.D in quantum physics? No? Sorry man, you don't deserve the latest iPhone4, or Android, or in fact everything else, lol. And btw, the problem with the strong passwords is that you have to actually write them down on note, or file, if you don't wanna to forget them, which becomes even greater security issue than having a weak passwords. In matter of fact, there are banks that are forbidd
        • You do not need to be a geek to realize that things like 'password' and '12345678' are a complete joke to use for your password yet people still do it. There are limits to both sides, yes security needs to keep user-friendliness in mind but the users also need to put in a bit of effort.

          • by stanlyb (1839382)
            But you DO need to be a geek to realize that the bank MUST implement more secure methods and good practices in order to protect his customers, and in case of identity theft, to solve this issue as faster as possible. And just for your information, adding 243 characters long password sentence is not the right answer.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by hedwards (940851)
              Indeed, the one time my information got stolen, it was the result of incompetence on the part of TD Ameritrade. Just last week I got another call from scammers at the "US Pharmacy" wanting to know about my prescriptions for Cialis and Viagra. I'm not a doctor, but I don't think that people generally take those medications together. I suspect the results would be somewhat less enjoyable than one would expect. Last time they called they wanted to know about my prescription for Benzodiazapene. I have prescript
        • And btw, the problem with the strong passwords is that you have to actually write them down on note, or file, if you don't wanna to forget them, which becomes even greater security issue than having a weak passwords.

          Wrong. Strong passwords written down on a piece of paper kept in your wallet along with your credit cards and cash are quite secure. If your wallet is stolen you will probably know about it in time to change your passwords before they get used (if the thief even figures out what they are for

          • by stanlyb (1839382)
            The problem with a note with the password is not that someone could steel it, but having it lost, lol. It happened to me so many times, that i was forced to implement a special practices in order to have them on safe place, but if there is a fire in my house...brrrr, nightmare, i don't wanna to even think about..
          • by nomadic (141991)
            Fools.

            No, it makes sense. There is no reason you should need a password that has upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols all in the same password.
            • I disagree. And when I start my own bank, I will require all of my customers to input at least one Cyrillic character along with all of the above into their passwords. Possibly even a Kanji character, too. My ATM machines will have huge keypads.

        • Nope, does not

          Does too.

          Tell me, since when it is required to be a geek in order to open an online bank account!!!

          I simply recommended using a sane password policy. If that qualifies as being a geek, then you definitely need to turn in your card, and immediately disable access to all of your online accounts. You're at risk.

          And btw, the problem with the strong passwords is that you have to actually write them down on note, or file, if you don't wanna to forget them, which becomes even greater security issue than having a weak passwords.

          I see you're not a security expert. Well, neither am I, but I do recognize that there are many different security scenarios, whereas you're trying to lump everything into one. We're talking about remote banking systems, and how a poor choice of password makes your account subject to an attac

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865)

      Like with most things, 54% of Americans are extremely concerned about the safety of their data, but maybe 1% actually bother to do something about it.

  • And yet.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @09:50AM (#33214800)
    And yet I'm positive many have no anti-virus,put lots of interesting information on their facebook or whatever, and click interesting links.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by russotto (537200)

      Exactly. On a survey, people may claim they they are "extremely concerned" about the potential loss of their personal information, but their actions say otherwise; they'll enter their personal information anywhere if it will get them dancing bunnies. On the other hand, most people are pretty careful about doing obviously stupid stuff which could lose them their job. If people really cared so as little about losing their job as they did about losing their financial information, they'd not only use the cop

    • I'm currently repairing a laptop, although very new, is infected with viruses and spyware. Interestingly the client is a male teenager about to start college. He had loaded some dubious file sharing applications which are likely avenues for the infections. My perception of the tech-savvy generation has just been changed.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Here's another car analogy. When cars first came out, people who owned them knew a lot about how they worked. You had to. You couldn't just call a tow truck and get them to bring it to a garage and fix it. Over the years cars got more and more complex. And not only did it become common place for people to know nothing about their cars, but it became common place for the makers of cars to make it difficult to repair them on your own ,such as putting commonly replaced parts in hard to reach places, or req
        • If there's a software problem, the first solution is factory reinstall

          The first solution for many people is simply to go out to a discount store and buy another computer, because obviously their previous one was "spoiled".

    • Most people do not take their informational security seriously. Now that's fine if it doesn't concern you. While I think it should concern you, I can understand not spending a lot of time on something that doesn't. For example I am not concerned about nuclear war, so I do not spend any time taking steps to protect myself in the event of one.

      However people ARE concerned, but then aren't willing to take steps to secure it. I'll even tell people what to do, like run a virus scanner, use a good password, get a

      • by hedwards (940851)
        I've tried to explain to my parents that their passwords aren't acceptable. And that if they do get ripped off that the businesses they are using are almost certainly not going to pay them back because they weren't taking their passwords seriously. Most people don't understand how dead serious this stuff is until they get ripped off, at which point it's largely too late. You can cancel the cards and lock your credit report, but the damage has been done.

        Worse still is that sites which save your credit inf
    • And yet I'm positive many have no anti-virus,put lots of interesting information on their facebook or whatever, and click interesting links.

      Having worked in computer support in years past...it's not that they don't have an anti-virus...it's that it's several years/decades old and has never been updated. For instance...many of the people who brought their computers into the shop had been using the crapware which came with their PC. Had the hardest time making them understand that if they wanted to use it...they had to pay for it or go search for a free version on the web. Of course...for $45 (the hourly rate back then)...I was more than happy t

    • The problem is that your identity can be stolen anywhere your information is stored. This means your company's computers, your doctor's, your insurance company, a government computer, etc. Plus, individuals in any of those places could want some extra cash and pull your information from the otherwise secure computer systems to use in indentity theft. (Perpetrated either by themselves or sold to other people who use the information thus protecting the seller from being caught.) And once your information'

  • And yet.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sdo1 (213835) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @09:51AM (#33214814) Journal

    ... those same people will continue to use their pet's name as the password to their online bank account.

    -S

    • To be fair many organizations that use security questions limit the customer to a set of canned questions. In those cases you can only choose between your pet's name, the street of your first home or your mother's maiden name. The pin number on some bank cards is still limited to only four (four!) digits. So if you want to be more secure organizations are not helping you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642)

        To be fair many organizations that use security questions limit the customer to a set of canned questions. In those cases you can only choose between your pet's name, the street of your first home or your mother's maiden name.

        Since there is (usually?) no human review, what exactly stops you from reporting your pets name was slfdasghblasfhdbgas or perhaps your street name was adfjklashd? Or for that matter, "Sally" even though my moms name was not Sally?

        • by Haedrian (1676506)
          I always do that when an account FORCES me to put in a secret question. Unfortunatly if you forgot your password, you're likely to forget your fake-mother's fake-maden name. So kinda defeats the purpose. I speak out of personal experience. I find "secret questions" to not be secret anymore - Pets names are almost always on facebook for example. Kinda useless.
          • I use a compromise. I've never had a pet. People who know me might guess whose pet I'd "borrow", but that pet croaked decades ago, and there's probably 3 people on the planet who would know that pet, rather than the 15 other pets that person has had. And it's not on FB. :)

          • by hedwards (940851)
            Use a password database program and be damned sure to keep it backed up in several places. I usually include the security information in the password file. If somebody compromises that I'm already incredibly screwed, the security answers are likely more of a problem if you don't do that.

            One of the stupid things is that they'll have a limited number of choices and some aren't well thought out. For people with parents born a bit after Harry S Truman was president, there's a fair number with single letter m
        • Because, when you forget your password 5 years later, you won't have a clue what your security word is.

        • by delinear (991444)
          That's fine until you come to enter the answer because you forgot your password. It would be much easier to allow me to set both the question and answer - that way I can think of a question that will give a non-obvious answer that is nevertheless easy for me to remember - favourite childhood sandwich, jam, cheese and banana or something. It is odd, though, that many of these sites insist on a mix of numbers and letters, minimum string length, etc and yet they have security questions you could brute force in
        • One option might be something ultra-obscure, not prone to dictionary attacks, but "locatable" on emergency. I had a password set to fhqwhgads for a while.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          This is what I do. I use PasswordSafe, and have it autogenerate a 16 character string for these questions. It's kind of funny, that a high percentage (16%) [insure.com] of identity theft is done by those who know you, and yet their security questions, are ones that could easily be figured out by someone you know. Not only that, but the actual answers are very hard to remember. Especially ones such as "What is your favourite x?", as tastes change.
          • These are the dumbest idea ever. They take what may be a reasonably secure password, and give attackers an option to bypass that password with a series of questions that can be easy to find the answers to.

            I put in 'wrong' information myself whenever I'm forced to, but then I have to store it, which is another attack surface.

        • I've actually had to verbally answer the question over the phone once, when I was doing something with a company.
          "Whats your favorite sport?"
          "uhh.. what??"

          "I have to ask this to verify that you are the right person.. what's your favorite sport?"
          Now, I'm not entering that here, but I just laughed and told the person... but to use that as a way to verify I'm me? If I took your thought as a way to go, I'd being saying "I really love to play silligas.. it's spelled s i l l i g a s..." :P

      • ... The pin number on some bank cards is still limited to only four (four!) digits. So if you want to be more secure organizations are not helping you.

        I've switched banks a few times and never had a card that didn't limit me to a 4 digit PIN, which banks allow more?

        • ... The pin number on some bank cards is still limited to only four (four!) digits. So if you want to be more secure organizations are not helping you.

          I've switched banks a few times and never had a card that didn't limit me to a 4 digit PIN, which banks allow more?

          I'm pretty sure that DCU (Digital Federal Credit Union) allowed (allows?) an 8-digit pin. I never made use of it, but I'm almost positive it was an option (though I haven't used them in 8+ years).

        • by hedwards (940851)
          Not going to happen anytime in the near term. The limitation is because ATMs only take a 4 digit PIN. Allowing more would be pointless as you couldn't use the ATM, or the ATM would have to lop it off to the first 4 digits.
        • and, I don't know about GPs bank, but mine locked my card after 3 wrong pins (several months apart), so don't go with 1111, 1112, or 1113, and you should be fine.

      • The pin number on some bank cards is still limited to only four (four!) digits.

        That's actually not so bad if they can guarantee that a thief will only get three attempts. A single trial is a guy putting the card in, entering a four-digit number fairly slowly (never saw a responsive keypad on one of those things), and waiting for the message to come back. Slow entry and a max of three trials makes four digits secure, while allowing unlimited trials at computer speeds won't keep five random characters sec

    • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @10:10AM (#33215012)
      I named my cat "Admin". Was that wrong?
    • by natehoy (1608657)

      I didn't name my cat "12345", you insensitive clod!

    • by kencurry (471519)

      ... those same people will continue to use their pet's name as the password to their online bank account.

      -S

      well, my dog's name just happens to have 11 chars, three of which are digits and has some random capitals thrown in to boot. Where is the problem sir?

    • Historically, people deposited their money at a "bank" so that the bank would keep it secure for them, allowing them to be ignorant of security best practices and specialize in something productive.

      Today, banks have somehow absolved themselves of responsibility for security, and have convinced us all to blame the customer for lapses in security, so much that we even call it by the oxymoron "identity theft" without feeling any irony.

      Banks should authenticate the transaction, and allow their customers to talk

  • There's Lifelock to help you. Or that other one, or that other one. And if you forget about them and how stressful it can be to loose ALL YOUR PERSONAL DATA AND ABILITY TO LIVE A NORMAL LIFE EVER AGAIN there will be an ad on the TV and radio in the next 5 minutes and you'll probably see many ads for their services today during your regular browsing.
    • +1

      I would say this survey is a better indicator of the success of the rampant advertising for anti-identity theft.

      So now that all the credit card companies know that this the number one fear (pat selves on back for successful advertising) they can start pushing the offers a bit harder. Expect your mailboxes to start filling up with more of these offers in 3...2..1

    • Lifelock's practice of renewing fraud alerts on your credit profile was ruled illegal by a federal judge last year. [wired.com]

      Their CEO had his identity stolen too. [associatedcontent.com]

      Personally I find those services to be a waste of money. Make use of your right to a free credit report from each bureau per year, if you suspect something has happened you can place the fraud alert yourself and get access to your report then.

  • ...that answering alarming questions in these seemingly endless "which is the most stressful thing that can happen to you?" surveys, raises the participants' stress levels.
  • Time to act (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trifish (826353) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @10:05AM (#33214976)

    Send this link to the following people:

    - Facebook CEO, who said that the meaning of the word privacy is changing thanks to Facebook and that the need for and expectation of privacy on the Internet should be and will be a thing of the past.

    - Google CEO, who said that if you don't want other people to know about something you do, you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

    These people need to realize that respecting and protecting privacy of their users is mandatory, not a thing of the past.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tophermeyer (1573841)

      Facebook and Google are pretty open about the fact that they are not interested in protecting privacy. They are building their business models on the assumption that society understands and accepts this.

      If people disagree, they are free not to use their services. If I don't want people to see "hot donkey nuts" on my Google search history, then I shouldn't be searching for hot donkey nuts in Google. If you do not want future employers to see pictures of you doing kegstands, do not post them on Facebook.

      • I think what Google said is they see an end to anonymity, not privacy, which is very different.

        I have privacy in my house. Only I and people I choose to let in can be here, and I can do pretty much as I please. People can't spy on me, they can't see what I'm doing, what I'm wearing, and so on. It is a nice private sanctum for me. However I am not anonymous in my house. It is well known who owns it, you can check public records to see though you could much easier just check a phone book. My comings and going

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      While I think that Facebook and Google should do what they can to protect their users, what these people say holds a lot of truth. If you are really that worried about somebody finding out about what you are doing, then you shouldn't be doing it. Even if you don't even use Facebook or Google. You never know what one of your friends, or even just some interested onlooker will record and post on the Net. Celebrities (the smart ones) have known for a long time that they should be very cautious of what they
  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @10:06AM (#33214984)

    As a victim of identity theft and someone who has lost his job in the past, I can say that, in many ways, identity theft is more stressful. If you lose a job, you need to worry about not having money and you need to find another job. Once you find a job, though, that worry goes away (or at least goes back to normal levels).

    When your identity is stolen, your information is now "out there." Even if the thief is captured (unlikely), he might have shared the information with a dozen other people or have purchased the information from someone who sold it to other people. This means that plugging one leak doesn't end the stress as other leaks could pop up at any time.

    In addition, you don't merely need to deal with one company (ala getting hired). You need to deal with at least three big credit agencies that really don't care if your identity was stolen. You need to prove to them that they have the wrong information on file. You might also need to deal with collection agencies who really don't care that you're not the one who bought that boat in Florida and the stereo equipment in California. You might also need to deal with credit card companies who (like the credit agencies) really only care about their profits and don't see your identity theft claim as "profitable." Then there's dealing with police officers who, while they might be well-meaning, really have no training to deal with these crimes and possibly no jurisdiction for the crimes.

    With all that stress, it's a good thing the FBI has made Identity Theft a top priority. Oh, wait, they haven't [slashdot.org].

    • Is did you contact your representatives in government? Imperfect as it is, our government is an approximation of what they people want. However part of that means the people have to participate, and tell the government what is important to them. Doesn't mean they always listen, and if they don't we vote them out and replace them with those that do. However if you don't even try then nothing can happen.

      So you need to let them know that this is an issue that has affected you, and that they need to be dealing

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      The sad thing is that it really doesn't have to be that way. I shouldn't have to safeguard public records information like my birthday or my mother's maiden name. Whoever started using those things to as any kind of authentication token are the ones truly responsible.

      In a true open and transparent society, it'd be pretty trivial to track down who committed the fraud in your name and have that added to your record. But people seem to fear getting a UUID (or dozens... hey you can have more than one, right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You need to deal with... You need to prove... that...

      We need to pas laws that make it their problem.. We should just be able to report it and that should be the end of it from our point of view. And we should shouldn't allow information to carry that kind of power to victimize us so easily.. The problem won't go away until we do that... This is the banks/credit agencies/governments'(ours) fault that this is happening at all. We shouldn't tolerate it.

      • by Shotgun (30919) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @12:25PM (#33216588)

        Hear. Hear.

        And the first step to making it their problem, is to require them to tell us what they are telling everyone else. And I don't mean one stupid free report a year. Send me a report every time you sell a report to someone else. All it will require is a duplicate print, and a few cents in postage.

        The next step will be to block any random company from obtaining my credit information. (What the hell is that about anyway? What do you call that "legitimate spying"? Forkin' peeping toms.)

        Nexus, Equity, TransUnion, etc should be working to validate the information in their databases. The easiest way to do that is to verify my information with me.

        • I'd go one step further. Don't tell me when any random company when they sell the report to a company. Tell me when a company wants to gain access to my credit and let me approve or deny them. Of course, this doesn't make the credit agencies any money so I'll keep my credit frozen (something they hate) and just deny everyone access to it unless I decide to temporarily "thaw" it.

      • I agree. Part of the problem in my case was that the credit card company *cough*Capital One*cough* that opened the card in my name wouldn't tell me what the address on the card was. (The card got sent to my house but then the thieves changed the address on it.) They claimed that they'd be liable if I went there with a gun and shot them. So I contacted the police and *they* contacted the credit card company's special "for police only" line... which was directed straight to voice mail and never answered!

  • by tthomas48 (180798)

    The American public has gotten really jaded about losing their job.

    • Well, ya know, when it happens often enough... people start to get numb to even painful things.

      http://washingtonindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/ltunemployed.png

  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @10:25AM (#33215164) Homepage

    How do you "lose" your personal info?

    If someone makes a copy, you still have all your info, so you haven't really lost anything, right?

    Isn't that what many folks here have been telling us? If you download data, it's just a copy. You're not depriving the owner of any property, so it isn't theft.

    How is making a copy of your SSN or other identifying information theft or loss? Data wants to free, right?

    • by frist (1441971)

      How do you "lose" your personal info?

      If someone makes a copy, you still have all your info, so you haven't really lost anything, right?

      Isn't that what many folks here have been telling us? If you download data, it's just a copy. You're not depriving the owner of any property, so it isn't theft.

      How is making a copy of your SSN or other identifying information theft or loss? Data wants to free, right?

      OMG SO GOOD! You win! :) If I knew how to give you points I would.

    • by AltairDusk (1757788) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:05AM (#33215642)

      The problem is not the information itself, the problem is what a thief can do with that information. Since you seem to be hinting at the copyright debate tell me: How can I harm someone using the information found in a song? That song/movie/software/etc does not allow me to sign up for credit cards, loans, bank accounts and more in the author's name. If I steal your identity I can rack up all kinds of debt in your name leaving you to foot the bill or prove it wasn't you that bought all those things.

      It seems to me that while most of the focus in preventing identity theft is on preventing access to this information in the first place a second avenue for addressing the problem is mostly ignored. It is far too easy to sign up for a credit card or other forms of credit while providing the bare minimum of proof that you are who you claim to be. If more effort was placed into ensuring identity before issuing the credit we could cut down the number and expense of identity theft cases.

    • Are you also going to make a car analogy about driving through an intersection with a green light, but hitting a pedestrian who didn't look? You were totally right to keep going, it was totally the pedestrian's fault for not looking. Right?

      What you are doing is taking the idea of creating a copy a step or two further. Instead of just copying the entire Thriller album, you're also taking credit for its creation and selling it. You're taking the entire works of Shakespeare, putting your name on them, and

    • I never understood the "information (data) wants to be free" mantra. Information is just information; data is just data. It doesn't know or want anything. It just is. Some PEOPLE want data to be free, for them. But only certain data. Mostly of the entertaining variety.
    • by tehcyder (746570)
      Yeah, it should be called "identity infringement" instead of "identity theft". That'll make a lot of difference.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)

      If I write a book and you take it and pretend that it's yours, most people would call that stealing. You're trying to take something away from me, the right to be recognized as the author. Having my personal information spread around doesn't make it identity theft, but trying to impersonate me does because only I should be recognized as myself. Though when it comes to immaterial things, fraud is probably the better word. However, identity fraud sounds like you are the one being defrauded, you're not. You're

      • by fishbowl (7759)

        >If I write a book and you take it and pretend that it's yours, most people would call that stealing.

        Rational people would call that copyright infringement, and recognize it as the main abuse that copyright protects you from!
        Copyright is a very poor weapon for punishing someone for reproducing your work, but is a very good one in defense of someone who claims your work as his own (and proceeds to sue you for damages.)

  • I wonder what percentage of Americans are worried about loosing their intellectual property?

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/08/10/216252/FBI-Prioritizes-Copyright-Over-Missing-Persons [slashdot.org]
  • by noidentity (188756) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @10:56AM (#33215546)
    One day I woke up to find that my age and hair color had been stolen. It was awful walking around being ageless and having hair with no color. Fortunately, I found that an ex-friend had stolen, and took them back from him. I could never figure out what use he had for them, but it's nice to have them back.
    • One day I woke up to find that my age and hair color had been stolen. It was awful walking around being ageless and having hair with no color. Fortunately, I found that an ex-friend had stolen, and took them back from him. I could never figure out what use he had for them, but it's nice to have them back.

      I have no idea how you got modded Insightful, but it is damn Funny.

    • I lost my birthday, and the bank refuses to issue me a new one because I can't answer their damn security questions.

      - RG>

  • How did we end up in this stupid scenario that anyone who has facts about me, like my SSN, my date of birth etc can open credit lines, borrow money and skip town and our credit is ruined?

    Clearly it is the lenders fault they lent money without proper verification. Unless the lenders can prove that they lent money to the correct party they should not be able to post "outstanding credit" on my name. The lenders lobby to make sure that I can't even freeze my own credit lines. Only if I am a victim of id theft

    • by Shotgun (30919)

      I repeat myself, but the first, simple, sensible step would be to require the credit agency to report to me who is asking about me and what they are asking about. It is absolute nonsense that we have these irresponsible companies sneaking around spreading rumors.

      Now, I will qualify myself:

      Are they irresponsible? Try to get a incorrect report removed. They will all say in unison, "We just report what we're told. We're not repsonsible." The law also exempts them from responsibility from the results of sp

  • You don't have to be a police chief to know...

  • Both situations involve losing control of an aspect of your life.

    When you lose your job, it's a problem but if you have savings and you have marketable skills, then there's at least something you can do about it.

    If you're the victim of identity theft, there's very little you can do about it. The information is out in the wild and it's extremely likely that the perpetrators will not be caught. People may well be using your identity for fraud for years.

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy

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