In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Could This Be The 'Longest-Running Internet Breach Ever'?
2. Today's Top Story
- The CIO Dilemma
- Four Steps To CIO Effectiveness
- Outsourcing's A Coin Toss For CIOs
3. Breaking News
- New Immigration Bill Has Some Familiar H-1B Visa Proposals
- Tight Budgets, Small Staffs Hinder Penetration Tests
- FCC Says 'No' To Cell Phones On Airplanes, But Europe Says 'Yes'
- Apple Reportedly Will Delay Leopard Launch To Ensure Vista Compatibility
- Hacker Suspected Of Multistate Break-In Spree
- Russian Trojan Built To Bypass Banking Security
- New MIT Supply Chain Software Is Far Out -- In Space
- Judge Puts Vonage Injunction On Hold For Two Weeks
- News Corp. And NBC Universal Challenge YouTube With Internet Video Network
- Wikipedia Becomes Intelligence Tool And Target For Jihadists
- Famous Harvard Dropout Bill Gates Finally Gets An (Honorary) Diploma
- Safety Officials Warn Against Qualcomm Ban
4. The Latest Digital Life Blog Posts
- Jott Helps Keep Track Of To-Dos When You Can't Write 'Em Down
- How Should We Tax Property In Virtual Worlds?
- New Certificates And Neo-Nomads
- Will That Be Cash, Credit, Or SMS?
5. Job Listings From TechCareers
6. White Papers
- Understanding and Managing Supply Chain Risk
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
Quote of the day:
"Technology is a way of organizing the universe so that man doesn't have to experience it." -- Max Frisch
1. Editor's Note: Could This Be The 'Longest-Running Internet Breach Ever'?
That old saw, "We're from the government, and we're here to help you," could stand some updating in this digital life. How about this one: "We're from the government, and we're here to give your identity away, no questions asked."
That was pretty close to it in California over the last three years, and who knows right now on how many local, state, county, and federal Web sites nationwide?
State Assemblyman Dave Jones has accused the state of "selling an identity theft starter kit on the Internet" after he discovered the gaping security hole on the California secretary of state's Web site. The site had been posting uniform commercial code filings -- which are voluntarily provided by banks -- with "enough information to open a credit card in someone else's name." Jones said the state was selling Social Security numbers for $6 each, an Internet connection, and a credit card. As a test, Jones bought 20 public records, 14 of which he said contained enough information to enable him to open credit cards in someone else's name, had he wanted to.
The filings are only supposed to be available to financial institutions and contain information about collateral used for loans, mostly from businesses, but some personal loans as well. The state has to accept the filings, but good lord, it doesn't have to make the information so easy to access online.
The secretary of state, Debra Bowen, has said the 2 million files, which were available for at least three years, will be taken down until her office can figure out a way to hide all but the last four numbers of each person's Social Security number. She also says there have been no complaints of identity theft filed. But so what? As an ABC News report on the story notes, most people never find out where their data was stolen from. So that's cold comfort. As far as Jones is concerned, this qualifies as "potentially the longest-running government Internet breach in California's history," according to DailyBreeze.com.
But none of this really addresses why such personal data was widely accessible in the first place and what will be done afterward to keep out prying eyes. In fact, along with the state of Indiana, officials might consider now a good time to review what information is being posted online. What information should be public? What changes should be made to documents so that they can go from being electronically filed to being posted safely on the Internet? What do citizens think about state DMVs and census offices selling their personal data? Shouldn't the government just agree now that no Social Security number should be posted on any public document? Any insurer or bank or credit analyst who needs
your SS number probably already has it (and probably because you provided it yourself). Why should anyone else need it legitimately? Someone else's need to spam millions with credit or insurance offers isn't your problem. Tell us what you think the government should be posting online -- or at least what it should be doing to make sure it isn't giving out ID Theft Starter Kits using your identity for pennies, and in the process, often breaking its own laws.
Hacker Suspected Of Multistate Break-In Spree
The hacker under investigation for stealing personal and financial information from an Indiana government site is also under suspicion of breaking into other state government Web sites.
Judge Puts Vonage Injunction On Hold For Two Weeks
A federal judge said Friday he would issue an injunction barring Vonage Holdings Corp. from using Internet phone call technology patented by Verizon Communications Inc., but delayed signing the order for two weeks.
Safety Officials Warn Against Qualcomm Ban
Government agencies would have a harder time communicating with the public in an emergency if imports of cell phones containing Qualcomm chips are banned, a federal official said.
8 Fast Facts About The InformationWeek 500
Use this quick online tool to examine technology and business strategies of the most innovative users of technology, the InformationWeek 500. With this tool, you can review aggregate budgeting and spending plans, methods of innovation, level of customer focus, risk management priorities, global strategies, and technology deployment plans.
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Jott Helps Keep Track Of To-Dos When You Can't Write 'Em Down
From Mitch Wagner: I'm so excited I could just plotz -- I actually had a chance to field-test Jott and it worked like a champ. Jott is a new service that lets you phone in and record a 15-second sound bite, which it transcribes using speech recognition and then e-mails the text back to you. I used it to record an idea while I was driving to the dentist, and by gosh I had that e-mail waiting for me when I got back to my desk.
How Should We Tax Property In Virtual Worlds?
Tom Claburn has a clever and informative article on how virtual property should be taxed in online games and worlds like World of Warcraft and Second Life. Indiana law professor Leandra Lederman says virtual property should be taxed like fish -- when it's sold, not before.
New Certificates And Neo-Nomads
The technological revolution -- and let's face it, this is truly a societal revolution -- is attracting a wide range of reactions from various groups that are part of the movement. On the one hand, two industry organizations are trying to impose order on the chaos involved in getting support for home technology. On the other, an increasing number of tech workers are enthusiastically embracing a rootless, home-is-where-your-hard-drive-is lifestyle.
Will That Be Cash, Credit, Or SMS?
Bankers, mobile network operators, and retailers have all come together to offer a text message-based payment program to the citizens of Belgium. Unlike near-field communication, which requires a handset equipped with an NFC short-range radio, this program will let every cell phone user complete retail transactions from their phones.
Business Process Innovation: Understanding And Managing Supply Chain Risk
Life sciences companies are looking beyond standard practices to new business strategies that promise solid business results. But what strategies and practices are right for your company? And what are the best solutions for facilitating them? This paper provides insights and advice from thought leaders in the pharmaceutical and life science industries.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.