Equifax Mess a Bellwether for Web Privacy Invasions
The massive breach of customers’ supposedly secure information at Equifax has highlighted just how vulnerable Americans are and how much of our Internet activity leaves us at the mercy of faceless, uncaring corporations. Reform proposals are percolating and we need to urge our elected representatives to act.
Expert Herbert Lin has recently reviewed the problem. Some excerpts:
(The Equifax breach) underscores the degree to which the current system puts the interests of credit reporting agencies above the imperative of protecting consumers’ financial privacy.
The presumption should be that consumers’ financial information is protected unless and until they expressly request that a party be given access to it.
it is also important to go beyond proposed legislation on free freezing of credit reports to require that individual reports be frozen by default, “thaw-able” only with the individual’s consent.
A credit report could be stored in an encrypted form so that it could be thawed only with a key held or managed by the consumer.