The financial giant HSBC is the latest institution that had to admit that it didn't care about the privacy of its customers and as a result exposed the files of 180,000 customers in the United States.
The company was quick to defer all blame to a retailer (rumour has it that the Ralph Lauren Polo store is the culprit) that was allegedly using an antiquated point-of-sale system. The credit card readers stored a copy of the credit card information instead of just forwarding it to the credit card processing computer. The incidents occurred between June 2002 and December 2004.
Ralph Lauren (if they are to blame) should be sued out of business for this , but HSBC is just as much to blame. The company never bothered looking into this matter prior to the breach – they were all too keen to accept the payments and fees.
HSBC is in good company. Earlier this week Reed Elsevier had to admit that the scope of a security breach in its online database LexisNexis was much larger than originally thought. Data for as many as 310,000 people has been compromised.
Maybe – just maybe – its time to take a very serious look at the state of our computer security, and maybe we could start talking about adopting legislation that requires companies to have a minimum level of security? Because about half a million consumers experienced this week that self regulation doesn't work. Maybe some effectively policed legislation would help me regain my trust in companies that deal with my personal data.
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