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Later Data

By Matt Wood in News on Sep 5, 2006 5:11PM

chicagoist_2006_09_datathef.jpgThe city reported over the weekend that personal data of over 38,000 city of Chicago employees and retirees was on a laptop that was stolen back in April. The computer was pilfered from the home of an employee who works for a company that provides retirement savings program services to the city. Officials say the data included names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

This sort of story is seeming to become old hat since the credit insurance data provider ChoicePoint coughed up over 145,000 records in February 2005. Chicagoist would like to indulge our inner cranky IT geek and say that employees should never be let out of the door with that much data on their laptops, but if it's not being stolen that way, it's something else. A look down this list of data breaches and their sources since the ChoicePoint incident is depressing. If it's not a stolen computer, it's a hacker, and if it's not a hacker, then someone lost a backup tape or the bike messenger used the CD in a game of ultimate frisbee. And if that's not enough exposure for you, AOL is posting your search data on the web too.

We've just about given up on protecting our personal data anyway. Let's just get this over with and require all banks, insurance companies, hospitals, and government agencies to post our deepest, darkest secrets online. That way we'd at least be on even ground with all the bad guys.